Hoeven, Peterson Secure $285 Million in Disaster Assistance for Sugar Cooperatives

Leaders Also Worked with USDA to Provide Disaster Coverage for Producers Impacted by Excess Moisture and Drought

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, and Representative Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, today announced that sugar cooperatives will receive $285 million in disaster assistance to help growers impacted by disasters

Additionally, they worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide coverage under the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Plus (WHIP+) Program for producers impacted by excess moisture and drought in 2018 or 2019. Producers in counties that experienced D3 drought or higher will be eligible for disaster assistance under WHIP+ program. Producers impacted by excessive moisture will be eligible for WHIP+ in counties with a secretarial or presidential disaster declaration. The application period will open on March 23. 

“We’ve been working with USDA to provide this assistance in the most effective way possible for both our sugar growers and other producers who were impacted by disasters,” said Hoeven. “This $285 million for our sugar producers is very important and we’ve worked hard to get it. USDA also agreed to move forward with assistance as a result of both drought and excess moisture, which is important as well because we’ve had both in our state over the last two years. Getting this assistance to producers in a timely manner is critical – as many are struggling with cash flow issues as they head into spring 2020 planting.”

“I want to thank Secretary Perdue and his staff at USDA for working with us to ensure that the disaster funding that Congress provided can reach the growers who have suffered losses in the two previous crop years.  I look forward to the additional details to come on providing help for quality losses,” said Peterson.

“The adverse weather conditions that farmers had to contend with, in addition to the current trade situation, have made the last several growing, harvesting, and marketing years among the most challenging most have faced in their lifetime of farming.

“I’m glad we were able to address the specific needs of sugar beet cooperatives and their growers.

“I also appreciate the work that Chairman Hoeven and Chairman Bishop of the Ag Appropriations Committees have done to ensure the availability of this much needed assistance,” Peterson concluded.  

Today’s announcement comes as part of the additional $1.5 billion in disaster assistance Hoeven and Peterson secured in December, which required that the Secretary of Agriculture make disaster payments to eligible sugar cooperatives, as well as expand WHIP+ to cover quality losses and clarified eligible disaster events by including losses related to excess moisture and D3 drought.

Since then, Hoeven and Peterson have been working with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, sugar cooperatives, and sugar beet growers to determine the level of assistance, calculations and program details, and to ensure that the disaster funding is provided in the most effective way for producers.

With producers facing severe challenges during harvest, Hoeven and Peterson hosted USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey in North Dakota last November to hear firsthand from farmers and ranchers impacted by severe weather. Since then, the leaders secured funding and worked with USDA to make disaster assistance available to producers.