Concerns Over Emergency Relief Program for Farmers and Ranchers

Concerns about a program which aids farmers and ranchers are being raised at the highest level.

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) led their colleagues in the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in raising concerns regarding the 2022 Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

“The 2022 crop year was challenging for many of America’s farmers and ranchers who were saddled with record-high production costs, inflation, and met with historic drought conditions in the West and significant flood and freeze events in other regions of the country,” the members wrote. “In light of these challenges, we thank you for the swift assistance made to livestock producers with drought or wildfire losses in 2022. However, following the USDA’s 2022 ERP rollout for qualified crop losses, we have heard from producers in our states with concerns regarding the new program.”

The senators outlined several questions for Secretary Vilsack to increase transparency on how the emergency reimbursements were calculated, administered and what will be done with remaining funds.

“We recognize that ad hoc disaster assistance is costly to U.S. taxpayers and only a band aid to issues exacerbated by extreme weather volatility,” the members continued. “It is for this reason that we believe an adequate farm safety net, including conservation investments that address persistent drought, are critical in any upcoming multi-year Farm Bill reauthorization.”

Sens. Moran and Bennet were joined by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), and Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.), Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), August Pfluger (R-Texas), Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas).