Hoeven Secures Appeals Process to Help Ensure Farmers Receive Needed Disaster Aid, Resolve AGI Issues

USDA to Also Begin Sending Applications to Producers Not Included in ERP Phase One Next Week, Including for Corrected 2020 Prevent Plant Claims

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Farm Service Agency (FSA), at the senator’s urging, has established an appeals process for producers impacted by issues with FSA’s adjusted gross income (AGI) calculations under the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). After hearing concerns from North Dakota farmers, Hoeven has been working with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux to resolve the issue, which had improperly subjected some producers to lower payment limits, preventing them from fully recovering their eligible losses.

In addition, USDA will begin sending applications to producers that were not included in ERP phase one. This includes those who had their 2020 prevent plant claims inadvertently excluded from their original pre-filled ERP applications, which Hoeven successfully worked to correct.

“This appeals process is an important correction to the row crop disaster aid that we secured for our producers, helping to resolve issues with FSA’s AGI calculations and ensuring farmers can more effectively recover from last year’s historic drought,” said Hoeven “Today’s announcement builds on the prevent plant fix we secured last month, for which USDA will start sending out corrected applications next week, along with applications for other producers not included in the first phase of ERP.” 

Producers should contact their FSA county office to learn more about the appeals process, including eligibility and documentation requirements.

Improving ERP’s Implementation 

Hoeven repeatedly raised both the AGI and prevent plant issues with USDA officials, having:

  • Held a meeting with Bonnie, Ducheneaux and North Dakota producers to outline the issue and stress the importance of ensuring ERP works for farmers and ranchers and effectively helps them offset their losses.
  • Spoken with Ducheneaux to drive home the importance of correcting the issues prior to the beginning of ERP phase two.
  • Joined his colleagues in pressing Vilsack to resolve issues with the implementation of ERP. 

Securing Disaster Assistance

In September, Hoeven secured $10 billion in agriculture disaster aid, including $750 million for livestock producers. The senator then repeatedly pressed Secretary Vilsack to get the assistance to producers as soon as possible, with the aid currently being distributed under the ERP and the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP). 

USDA began sending out ELRP phase-one assistance in February, with payments set at 75% of producers’ 2021 Livestock Forage Program (LFP) payment. Phase two will begin later this year.

USDA also began sending pre-filled applications for ERP phase one to producers in May, with payments having started earlier this summer. To date, North Dakota producers have received $1 billion in ERP assistance. Details will be released later this year for ERP phase two, which will compensate producers not paid under the first phase for their eligible losses.