Legislation Would Create a Permanent Disaster Relief Program

Four elected officials from California introduced the “Agricultural Emergency Relief Act” to create a permanent USDA structure that would provide relief to farmers hurt by natural disasters. While Congress routinely provides disaster relief to farmers hurt by natural disasters, the lack of a permanent program has resulted in multiple administrative changes.

That can cause confusion for farmers and result in unnecessary delays in implementation. Representative Mike Thompson of California was one of the co-sponsors. He says, “California and many other states have been hit hard by disasters. It’s clear we need a permanent disaster relief program. This bill will help streamline the process for all farmers and growers to receive the relief they deserve.”

The legislation would formally authorize a program that already has funding from 2022 and 2023 omnibus bills. It will require farmers who apply for relief payments to purchase crop insurance for two years after receiving a payment.

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