The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, as the deadline to submit applications for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019 losses. USDA did not originally specify a deadline when the program was announced.
“The physical and financial loss experienced by farmers and ranchers impacted by natural disaster events in 2018 and 2019 was widespread and catastrophic,” said Richard Fordyce, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Fortunately, in addition to our already extensive suite of disaster assistance programs for crop and livestock producers, we were able to provide additional support through WHIP+. If you have not yet submitted your application for assistance, please don’t miss your chance.”
WHIP+ compensates producers for losses due to hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, drought, excessive moisture and wildfires occurring in calendar years 2018 and 2019. Drought and excessive moisture were added as eligible losses for the program in March 2020. To date, FSA has received more than 133,000 applications for WHIP+ disaster assistance and paid out nearly $1.4 billion in WHIP+ benefits.
Next week, FSA will launch a new tool on the farmers.gov WHIP+ webpage to help producers understand eligibility for the program and whether they had possible losses in 2018 and 2019. The tool will also allow producers an opportunity to provide information for FSA staff to reach out to them.
FSA will announce soon the details for producers who experienced quality loss from 2018 and 2019 natural disaster events authorized in appropriations legislation. There will be a separate signup period for producers reporting quality loss.
For more information or application assistance, visit farmers.gov WHIP+ webpage, or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.
All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will prescreen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Thje program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone, and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
Submitted by Sarah Fullenkamp, county executive director, Highland County Farm Service Agency.