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Critical deadline approaching for hurricane & wildfire relief

Oct. 30 is the deadline to submit wildfire and hurricane disaster assistance applications with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mother Nature continues to do her worst in parts of the country, and the agricultural community has certainly felt the devastating impacts of hurricanes, tornados and other extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Just as 2020 brings more storms and fires to grapple with, many producers may still be trying to pick up the pieces from the damage done in 2018 and 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program - Plus (WHIP+) for 2018 and 2019 is now taking applications for disaster assistance, and the deadline to submit is rapidly approaching.

Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 is the cutout date to apply for USDA’s WHIP+ and I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone on the BEEF Daily blog about this relief program and what it entails.

“The physical and financial loss experienced by farmers and ranchers impacted by natural disaster events in 2018 and 2019 was widespread and catastrophic,” said Richard Fordyce, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), in a press release. “Fortunately, in addition to our already extensive suite of disaster assistance programs for crop and livestock producers, we were able to provide additional support through WHIP+. If you have not yet submitted your application for assistance, please don’t miss your chance.”

So what is USDA’s WHIP+?

WHIP+ compensates producers for losses due to hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, drought, excessive moisture, and wildfires occurring in calendar years 2018 and 2019. Additionally, drought and excessive moisture are included as eligible losses for the program, as of March 2020.

To date, FSA has received more than 133,000 applications for WHIP+ disaster assistance and paid out nearly $1.4 billion in WHIP+ benefits.

A new tool hosted by FSA has been launched on farmers.gov. The WHIP+ webpage is available to assist producers in understanding whether they are eligible for the program or not and to help them calculate the possible losses they might have occurred in 2018 and 2019. The website and navigator tool will also help producers connect with local FSA staff, where they can submit relevant information needed for their application.

According to the USDA, “FSA will announce soon the details for producers who experienced quality loss from 2018 and 2019 natural disaster events authorized in appropriations legislation. There will be a separate signup period for producers reporting quality loss.”

For more information or application assistance, visit farmers.gov WHIP+ webpage, or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, click here.

Additional programs and services can be found at the Disaster Assistance Recovery Tool, which can be found here.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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