ICYMI: Lucas, Colleagues Draw Attention to Shortcoming in USDA Disaster Assistance

Dec 08, 2023
Agriculture
Press

Washington, DC – This week, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS), and other House and Senate colleagues on a letter to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Tom Vilsack. 

The letter urges USDA to follow Congressional intent of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and ensure support goes to producers who suffered drastic crop losses, not those who the USDA deems to be socially disadvantaged.

“Farm policy must follow production. Instead of picking winners and losers, the USDA must ensure the farmers and ranchers who are actually raising food and fiber are the ones receiving this disaster support,” said Rep. Frank Lucas. “Furthermore, this underscores the need for a strengthened farm safety net in the next Farm Bill.”

“Disasters don’t discriminate against farmers based on their race or gender and neither should our government programs. The USDA’s 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) gives higher disaster payments to producers based on the color of their skin and biological sex – rather than targeting farmers with the greatest need,” said Rep. Arrington. “This is just another example of the Biden Administration using identity politics to drive public policy. These discriminatory and divisive practices have no place in America.”

BACKGROUND:

  • Nearly a year ago, Congress appropriated $3.7 billion in agriculture disaster relief to support farmers who suffered weather-related losses during the 2022 crop year. 
  • The administration rolled out the ERP 2022 program on October 30, 2023. This newest ERP methodology is deeply flawed and leaves many of those hardest hit by drought and natural disasters without the support they need. 
  • Earlier this year, Rep. Lucas joined a letter urging the USDA to revisit and amend their implementation of the second phase of the ERP 2021 program.
  • Rep. Lucas also questioned Secretary Vilsack about ERP 2021 Phase two in a House Agriculture Committee hearing earlier this year, which you can watch here.
  • Congressman Lucas also discussed the ERP debacle with Ron Hays on the Oklahoma Farm Report, which you can listen to by clicking here or on the image below.

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