Government funding bill has $1.5 billion for ag disaster relief

Drought stricken farm.

The House will vote shortly on a massive government funding bill that gives an additional $1.5 billion of disaster relief for agriculture. The bill would also reject the 25% cut in SNAP benefits proposed by President Trump.

Sugar beet growers in the northern planes would be helped by the package after cold weather affected the fall harvest. The funding allows payments for quality loss due to weather damage. Aid would also be made available to those who were hit hard by drought.

The disaster funding would be a 50% increase from the $3.1 billion appropriated in June which helped those impacted by hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, freezes, and floods.

Sen. John Hoven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee said, “We secured another $1.5 billion in disaster assistance for our farmers and ranchers in the Agriculture Appropriations bill. This funding is in addition to the $3 billion we secured earlier this year. We also added provisions to make sure that our sugar producers are included and to help cover quality, excess moisture and drought losses, which is helpful for our farmers and ranchers. We not only have low commodity prices but unprecedented weather. The disaster assistance and advancing trade agreements will help to get our producers through this tough stretch.”

The program will cover disasters that occurred in 2018 and 2019. Hoven says the implementation of the program changes should happen quickly.

“They should be able to get going on it right away,” he said. “That’s why I worked to get the additional $1.5 billion, but we’ve also got the provisions I just outlined to give USDA and FSA direction on how to implement the assistance in a way that will help our producers.”