Hoeven, Tester Urge USDA to Expedite Ag Disaster Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers

Senators Secured $9.25 Billion for WHIP+, $750 Million for Livestock Producers in September

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Jon Tester this week spoke with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie to press USDA to expedite distribution of the $10 billion in disaster assistance, including $750 million specifically for livestock producers, approved by Congress in September. The senators pressed Bonnie to provide farmers and ranchers with details on the program and the assistance as quickly as possible given producers are making business decisions and need to plan for next year.

“Our producers are still facing challenges from this year’s severe drought, and need to know what to expect from this disaster assistance and when it will become available as they plan for next year,” said Hoeven. “We encouraged Under Secretary Bonnie to get this relief out to our farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible to help them recover and maintain their operations following a tremendously challenging year.” 

“It was a tough year for producers across Big Sky Country, and this relief is essential to helping farmers and ranchers balance their books and feed the world,” said Tester. “Our producers need certainty when planning for the future, and it’s imperative that the gets this funding out the door as soon as possible.”  

Specifically, the $10 billion in disaster assistance includes:

  • $9.25 billion in disaster assistance to aid producers who suffered losses due to drought, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters. The funding will extend WHIP+ to cover losses in calendar years 2020 and 2021. 
  • $750 million for livestock producers for losses incurred during 2021 due to drought or wildfire. This disaster assistance, the first specifically for livestock producers since 2008, will build on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers.