Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Nov. 15 announced plans for additional emergency relief and pandemic assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is preparing to roll out the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two as well as the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). The two programs help offset crop and revenue losses for growers. USDA is sharing early information to help producers gather documents and train frontline staff on the new approach.
“We have worked diligently to help agricultural producers bounce back from devastating natural disasters as well as the coronavirus pandemic through an extensive suite of programs,” said Vilsack. He said the new programs utilize an approach not focused on any one disaster event or commodity. Rather, they are focused on filling gaps in assistance for agricultural producers who have suffered losses from natural disasters and the pandemic.
ERP Phase Two will assist eligible agricultural producers who suffered eligible crop losses, measured through decreases in revenue, due to hurricanes, floods, drought and numerous other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
PARP will assist eligible producers of agricultural commodities who experienced revenue decreases in calendar year 2020 compared to 2018 or 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PARP will help address gaps in previous pandemic assistance.
ERP Phase Two builds on ERP Phase One, which was rolled out in May 2022 and has since paid more than $7.1 billion to producers who incurred eligible crop losses that were covered by federal crop insurance or the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. ERP Phase Two includes producers who suffered eligible losses but may not have received program benefits in Phase One.
To be eligible for PARP, an agricultural producer must have been in the business of farming during at least part of the 2020 calendar year and had a certain threshold decrease in allowable gross revenue for the 2020 calendar year, as compared to 2018 or 2019.
ERP Phase Two and PARP will use revenue information that is readily available from most tax records. Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages producers to have their tax documents from the past few years and supporting materials ready. Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in USDA FSA programs, will likely have these required forms on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center.
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