Emergency relief payments provides assistance for producers impacted by natural disasters in the past two years

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $418 million in emergency relief payment for Minnesota commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. The relief assistance, offered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA)’s new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) is intended to help impacted producers offset crop yields and value losses.

“Recent natural disasters  – including last year’s extreme drought and wildfires – have created enormous challenges for our state’s farmers,” said Klobuchar. “These resources will be a critical step toward making sure that producers who suffered losses can continue to recover, and I encourage all eligible producers to work with their local FSA county office to apply. As recent storms have caused further damage and crop losses, I will continue working to ensure that Minnesotans have access to much needed relief.”

“Widespread drought, wildfires and other climate-fueled extreme weather continues to strain farmers in Minnesota and around the country,” said Smith. “These disasters have challenged farmers in Minnesota and hurt our state’s economy.  I encourage anyone who suffered losses in 2021 and 2020 as a result of natural disasters to contact your local FSA office and apply for this assistance as soon as possible.”

ERP covers losses to crops due to qualifying natural disasters, including wildfires, drought and smoke exposure, in 2020 and 2021.  All crops where crop insurance or NAP coverage was available are eligible, except for crops intended for grazing. A list of eligible counties for drought assistance is available HERE for 2021 and HERE for 2020.

To streamline the delivery of ERP phase one benefits, FSA will send pre-filled application forms to producers whose crop insurance and NAP data are already on file. This form includes eligibility requirements, outlines the application process and provides ERP payment calculations. Producers will receive a separate application form for each program year in which an eligible loss occurred. 

Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs will likely have these required forms on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm should contact their local FSA county office. More information about the program and how to apply is available HERE.

Klobuchar and Smith have long worked to help Minnesota farmers and producers adversely affected by natural disasters and droughts. Last August, they introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to authorize emergency haying during the drought. 

They also successfully pressed for the USDA to designate farmers and ranchers in several Minnesota counties whose operations suffered from the drought eligible for federal emergency disaster assistance. In July, the senators successfully pushed for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.

Additionally, in November 2019, Klobuchar led a Minnesota delegation letter that was signed by Smith in support of a USDA secretarial disaster declaration after heavy rain and flooding created harvest challenges for many farmers in Minnesota.