Hoeven Outlines $285 Million in Disaster Assistance for Sugar Cooperatives with Red River Valley Growers

Senator Spoke with Under Secretary Northey This Week to Confirm Agreement with Cooperatives, Worked to Secure Full Payments for Losses in 2018 and 2019

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today outlined the $285 million in disaster assistance for sugar cooperatives he secured to help growers impacted by disasters. Hoeven was joined by Red River Valley sugar beet growers to discuss the importance of the assistance for producers.

“Our sugar beet growers faced unprecedented losses in the past year, and as they head into spring planting, they need this cash to keep their operations going,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we secured this funding in our Agriculture Appropriations bill and worked with USDA, the sugar cooperatives and our local growers to figure out the details and arrive at this $285 million agreement. Now, we are focused on getting these payments out to producers in a timely way. I’ve been pushing to get these payments out as soon as possible and yesterday, Under Secretary Bill Northey told me they should be able to get them out in the next week or so, and USDA will pay out 100 percent of eligible losses for 2018 and 2019.”

In December, Hoeven helped secure an additional $1.5 billion in disaster assistance funding, as well as a requirement that the Secretary of Agriculture make disaster payments to eligible sugar cooperatives. The senator has been working with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, sugar cooperatives and sugar beet growers to reach the $285 million agreement.

Sugar beet growers in the Red River Valley faced historic losses in 2019. Heavy rainfall and snow during harvest meant many producers saw a dramatic decline in beet quality, while others were forced to leave beets in the ground, unable to harvest them due to poor conditions. It is estimated that more than 100,000 acres of beets went unharvested in the valley.

As part of the disaster assistance, Hoeven also worked to expand WHIP+ to cover quality losses and clarified eligible disaster events for all North Dakota farmers by including losses related to excess moisture and D3 drought. Now, the senator is working to ensure that the new coverage works for producers and has provided USDA with a proposal covering quality losses based on a prior Farm Bill program, which seeks to fairly compensate farmers with quality losses in a timely manner.