Hoeven, Harris ask Vilsack to revise ERP program


Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris, R-Md., sent Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack a letter last week urging him to reconsider the changes USDA made to the Emergency Relief Program to compensate producers for losses occurring in 2022.

In the letter, Hoeven and Harris noted they worked to secure more than $3.7 billion in annual funding legislation to help farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters, mirroring assistance provided under the Emergency Relief Program in 2020 and 2021.

But they said “under ERP 2022, USDA made significant changes to the program that run counter to statute and Congressional intent, including:”

▪ “Applying a ‘progressive’ payment factor that penalizes the producers with the largest losses.

“In 2020 and 2021, ERP utilized a flat payment factor, which ensured producers were reimbursed at the same rate regardless of losses.

▪ “Providing a crop insurance premium reimbursement only to socially-disadvantaged, limited-resource, beginning and veteran farmers and ranchers.

“In contrast, statute requires that USDA provide a crop insurance premium reimbursement to all producers receiving ERP assistance, as was done under previous iterations of the program,” the letter said.

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