A little background on the Emergency Relief Program | TSLN.com

A little background on the Emergency Relief Program

By Dennie Stratton, FUI Sales Director Crop Insurance Distribution

As more information is released on the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), it is important you stay informed on the process as it is, like the other recent programs, tied to the Multi-Peril Crop Insurance or NAP policies you have and is time sensitive with deadlines on sign up, etc. Really, you’re going to notice it adds an increase to your current coverage levels you had signed up for in the 2020 and 2021 crop year, which is similar to the WHIP+ program, but with two phases.

The average farmer can receive as much as $125,000 per crop program year per farm, but there are factors that can affect maximum payment such as their Average Adjusted Gross Income for that year.

It’s important to remember in order to receive an indemnity, you would have to suffer from a natural disaster event that qualifies for the program to pay. These events include wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought* and related conditions. There are lists of 2020 and 2021 drought counties eligible for ERP available online, but it’s important you talk to your local FSA office to make sure you get all the correct program information, paperwork, etc.

Policies with SCO and ECO can also qualify for the ERP disaster payment, but it may not be a very common thing as it caps payment at 95 percent payment level and the ECO coverage level is already high. That will be set up through and ERP “Phase 1b” sign up that should be going out in early July. I think this is delayed due to late payment release on these programs compared to your base Multi-Peril Crop Insurance policy. So, if you did sign up for SCO or ECO it will be a little later but is worth looking into as you may at least get your insurance premium on those products back.

Emergency Relief Program

FSA started mailing 303,000 pre-filled applications this week for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and farmers and ranchers are encouraged to be on the lookout for them in their mailboxes. This new program, as part of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, aims to help producers impacted by natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and more during 2020 and 2021. The program is expected to distribute $6 billion in assistance on a fast timeline.

Check required forms on file with FSA. There are five forms you may need to have submitted. *If you have previously participated in FSA programs, you will likely have these required forms on file. Contact your local FSA county office if you are uncertain.

Check historically underserved status (including beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers) with FSA, if applicable. Producers with this designation will receive a 15 percent higher ERP payment.

Check your future insurance coverage. If you receive ERP phase one funding, you are statutorily required to purchase crop insurance, or NAP coverage where crop insurance is not available, for the next two available crop years, as determined by the secretary.

Check your bank. Once the ERP application has been submitted and signed by FSA, those with direct deposit should receive payment within three business days.

There are still a lot of questions out there on this new program as it is new, but the USDA has been very good about keeping us all updated as it goes. ERP forms are due on July 22.

–SD Farmers Union

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