Lucas: Biden Administration’s USDA Leaving Ag Producers to Weather the Storm Alone

Mar 28, 2023
Agriculture
Press

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined his colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee for a hearing with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack.  

Lucas questioned Secretary Vilsack on USDA’s administration of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and how the Agency’s adjusted coverage negatively impacts farmers and ranchers across the United States. USDA changed the eligibly mechanism by which farmers and ranchers qualify for disaster payments from a model based on crop losses to a model based on revenue losses calculated by tax year. ERP covers losses to crops, trees, bushes, and vines due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 and 2021.

Click here to watch Lucas Q&A.

On USDA’s ERP

“Over the past 6 years impacted producers have received ad hoc assistance for extreme weather events through the WHIP Plus program, administered by the previous Administration, and the ERP program administered by your Agency. ERP Phase One followed the WHIP Plus model, basing 2020 and 2021 coverage on crop losses. Producers who were left out of Phase 1 were given assurances that they would be captured under ERP Phase 2. 

“However, when the regulations came out for ERP Phase 2, FSA had completely changed course and moved from a model based on crop losses to one based on revenue losses calculated by tax year. The reports I am hearing from Oklahoma is that due to the vast changes in the program, the drought impacted producers that were left out of Phase 1, are not qualifying for Phase 2 under these new parameters.”

Earlier this month, Lucas joined  Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Representative August Pfluger (TX-11), and Representative Tracey Mann (KS-01) in sending a letter to Secretary Vilsack  urging USDA to reconsider ERP Phase II implementation and utilize the Phase I methodology for the crop year 2022 crop disaster assistance.

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