The Agriculture Department will soon start distributing $6 billion in disaster relief payments for losses producers had in 2020 and 2021 through a wide range of natural disasters, including drought, wildfires and excessive heat and cold.

The payments are being made under the first step of a two-phase approach. Any crop eligible for crop insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program can qualify for the new Emergency Revenue Program, except for crops intended for grazing.

The payments will cover losses from wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freezes, smoke exposure, excessive moisture and drought.

ERP payments will be calculated according to the producer’s level of crop insurance or NAP coverage. Payments will be based on an ERP factor that will vary from 75% to 95%. Producers whose crop insurance and NAP data are on file with the Farm Service Agency will receive application forms that are pre-filled with key information FSA needs to determine payments. The forms will provide ERP payment calculations.

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John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, was grateful for the changes and called it a much-needed bit of good news.

“California’s winegrape growers have weathered enormous disruptions in the past three years—low grape prices, COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, water curtailments, labor shortages, and rapidly escalating production costs,” said Aguirre.

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