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May 8, 2018

Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Helps Producers Recover Who Were Hit Hard by 2017 Natural Disasters

Some of the most significant natural disasters took place in 2017 during times that were crucial for farming production. The 2017 Wildfire and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP) will provide extra help to growers hit hardest during hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria or any of the major wildfires over the year. The new U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster program will utilize $2.36 billion that Congress appropriated through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to help agricultural operations in at least nine states.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Eligible Producers – Eligibility will be determined on an individual basis, using the level of insurance coverage purchased for 2017 for the total crop acres on the area for which the WHIP application is made. Eligible producers who certify to an average adjusted gross income of at least 75 percent derived from farming or ranching, including other agriculture and forestry-based businesses during the tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015, will be eligible for a $900,000 payment limitation with verification. All other eligible producers requesting 2017 WHIP benefits will be subject to a $125,000 payment limitation.
  • Hurricane Recovery – A crop, tree, bush or vine must be located in a primary disaster county with either a Presidential declaration or a Secretarial designation due to a 2017 hurricane. Crops, trees, bushes or vines located in other counties may also be eligible if the producer provides documentation the loss was caused by a 2017 hurricane.
  • Wildfire Recovery – Any crop, tree, bush or vine damaged by a 2017 wildfire is eligible.
  • Acreage Reporting – For the applicable crop years, all producers are required to file an acreage report and report production (if applicable).
  • Crop Insurance – Both insured and uninsured growers are eligible to apply for WHIP. However, all producers opting to receive 2017 WHIP payments will be required to purchase crop insurance at the 60 percent coverage level, or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program at the 60 percent buy up coverage level if crop insurance is not available. Coverage must be in place for the next two applicable crop years to meet program requirements.

If you need to enroll in crop insurance, please contact Western Growers Insurance Services’ Gretchen Rooney-Adan at (530) 305-7800 immediately. The sign-up period for the 2017 WHIP program will only be available through July 16, 2018. Additional information on WHIP is available on FSA’s 2017 WHIP webpage.