Farmers become eligible for disaster relief as Biden signs Newhouse-backed act

Severe Drought Devastates Washington State’s Wheat Crop
Ted S. Warren

A combine transfers wheat into a grain truck, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, near Pullman, Wash. Across eastern Washington, a drought the National Weather Service classified as "exceptional" has devastated what is normally the fourth largest wheat crop in the nation.

WASHINGTON — Earlier today, President Biden signed the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (H.R. 5305) into effect. This included approval for the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act, which was introduced by Eastern Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse last year and will allocate emergency appropriations for those impacted by natural disasters.

According to the Friday release from Rep. Newhouse’s office, H.R. 5305 includes provisions from WHIP+ that include coverage for farmers who lost crops in 2020 and 2021. This means that Eastern Washington warmers whose crops were tainted by smoke or excessive heat will soon become eligible for federal relief.

RELATED: Congressman Dan Newhouse on disaster relief and wildfires in WA

Of the $28.6 billion approved for emergency supplemental appropriations, $40 billion was designated specifically for the 2020 WHIP+ Reauthorization Act.

“Producers across Central Washington and the West are all too familiar with the damage that wildfires, smoke, excessive heat and drought can do to their lives and livelihood,” Rep. Newhouse said.  “WHIP+ is a necessary resource for many producers as they continue to recover from this year’s devastating wildfires, excessive heat, and drought conditions in our region – while facing new threats every day. I am glad to see this much-needed legislation make its way to the President’s desk and be signed into law.”

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WHIP+ was introduced in November 2020 and reintroduced in January 2021. The House Committee on Agriculture amended and then passed the act in July 2021. Those amendments ensured that relief could be provided for those impacted by wildfires, hurricanes, drought, high winds, freeze, polar vortexes, excessive heat, and smoke taint.

You can learn more about protections afforded by the U.S Department of Agriculture by clicking here. If you are interested in reading the bill, you can do so by clicking here.

Further details on WHIP+ and how you can claim your federal appropriations will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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