Agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, can apply through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) program.

Sign-up for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program began Sept. 11.

“There is no doubt that extreme weather has greatly impacted Minnesota’s agricultural producers over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” said Joe Martin, executive director for Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Minnesota. “With record amounts of crops prevented from planting nationwide and other devastation, more than $3 billion nationwide is available through this disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June.”

WHIP+ will be available for eligible producers who have suffered eligible losses of certain crops, trees, bushes or vines in counties with a presidential emergency disaster declaration or a secretarial disaster designation (primary counties only).

Disaster losses must have been a result of, floods, tornadoes or snowstorms that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, producers in counties that did not receive a disaster declaration or designation may still apply for WHIP+ but must provide supporting documentation to establish that the crops were directly affected by a qualifying disaster loss. 

A list of counties that received qualifying disaster declarations and designations is available online.

Because grazing and livestock losses, other than milk losses, are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, those losses are not eligible for WHIP+. Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage is available, excluding crops intended for grazing. A list of crops covered by crop insurance is available through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) actuarial information browser.

The WHIP+ payment factor ranges from 75 percent to 95 percent, depending on the level of crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage that a producer obtained for the crop. Producers who did not insure their crops in 2018 or 2019 will receive 70 percent of the expected value of the crop.

Insured crops (either crop insurance or NAP coverage) will receive between 75 percent and 95 percent of expected value; those who purchased the highest levels of coverage will receive 95 percent of the expected value. At the time of sign-up, producers will be asked to provide verifiable and reliable production records.

If a producer is unable to provide production records, WHIP+ payments will be determined based on the lower of either the actual loss certified by the producer and determined acceptable by FSA or the county expected yield and county disaster yield. The county disaster yield is the production that a producer would have been expected to make based on the eligible disaster conditions in the county.

WHIP+ payments for 2018 disasters will be eligible for 100 percent of their calculated value. WHIP+ payments for 2019 disasters will be limited to an initial 50 percent of their calculated value, with an opportunity to receive up to the remaining 50 percent after Jan. 1, 2020, if sufficient funds remain.

Both insured and uninsured producers are eligible to apply for WHIP+, but all producers receiving payments will be required to purchase crop insurance or NAP, at the 60 percent coverage level or higher, for the next two available, consecutive crop years after the crop year for which WHIP+ payments were paid.

Producers who fail to purchase crop insurance for the next two applicable, consecutive years will be required to pay back the WHIP+ payment.

The Milk Loss Program will provide payments to eligible dairy operations for milk that was dumped or removed without compensation from the commercial milk market because of a qualifying 2018 and 2019 natural disaster.

Producers who suffered losses of harvested commodities, including hay, stored in on-farm structures in 2018 and 2019 will receive assistance through the On-Farm Storage Loss Program. Producers with trees, bushes or vines can receive both cost-share assistance through FSA’s Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for the cost of replanting and rehabilitating eligible trees.

For more information, visit farmers.gov.