May 25, 2022USDA’s new Emergency Relief Program kicks off with $10 billion
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency is mailing applications for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), to help offset losses caused by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
The new program includes $10 billion in emergency relief, through the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act.
May 25 marked the start of the first phase of the ERP, which is designed to be an easier program to access, according to a Farm Service Agency (FSA) release. The ERP uses existing government programs as the basis for calculating initial payments.
The FSA began mailing more than 300,000 pre-filled applications on May 25, according to the agency; FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux and other agency personnel have been doing outreach on the ERP, focusing on producers and groups that haven’t typically been included in USDA programs.
The FSA’s website on the ERP has a checklist of six steps to guide applicants through the process.
“The past few years have been tough to say the least,” Ducheneaux said in a news release. “As producers have dealt with the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have also struggled to recover from more frequent, more intense natural disasters.”