Hoeven Outlines Impacts of Early Blizzard, Agriculture Disaster Assistance Needs in North Dakota to USDA Deputy Secretary

Senator Worked to Ensure WHIP+ Coverage for 2019 Disasters, Including Excessive Moisture and Snowstorms

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven outlined the challenges facing North Dakota producers impacted by the early blizzard to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky. The senator worked as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee to ensure that the disaster relief legislation Congress passed in May was forward-looking to provide coverage for disasters throughout 2019 and would cover losses due to excessive moisture and snowfall under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). 

 “Our farmers are really up against it right now due to the adverse weather, including the wet fall and the early blizzard. That’s why we worked to ensure that the disaster assistance legislation was forward-looking to provide WHIP+ coverage for events like the early blizzard,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate USDA working with us to ensure that producers receive the support they need from WHIP+, as well as the farm bill and trade assistance. These programs are vitally important given the challenges facing farm country.” 

Hoeven has spoken with state leaders, including the Governor’s office, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Farm Service Agency Director Brad Thykeson, who are working with producers to assess damages and determine losses due to the adverse weather in order to submit a disaster declaration to USDA.  Counties with a presidential or secretarial disaster declaration are automatically eligible for WHIP+. Producers who are not in counties with a declared disaster may also be eligible, but must supply documentation establishing that crops were directly impacted by a qualifying disaster event. While some counties in North Dakota have a disaster declaration for spring flooding, in order to be automatically eligible, a new declaration will have to be issued for these counties to cover losses due to the snowfall. 


Under WHIP+, USDA will provide assistance to producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Payments from the program will take into account a producer’s crop insurance coverage and size of the loss. No one will receive more than 100% the value of their crop.

Eligible Crops

  • Must be intended for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 crop years.
  • Must be eligible for either crop insurance or Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, excluding crops intended for grazing since these losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA. 

Impacted farmers should contact their Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office or visit farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus for additional details.