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Farmers can sign up for WHIP+ program now

WORTHINGTON, Minn (4-6-20) — The Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) program has expanded to include producers impacted by drought and excess moisture, as well as sugar beet growers to help producers recover from losses related to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters. This additional signup began on March 23 for producers to apply for eligible losses of drought and excess moisture. USDA is also entering into agreements with six sugar beet processing cooperatives to distribute $285 million to grower members of those cooperatives who experienced loss. The bill added excessive moisture and D3 and D4 drought as qualifying losses for WHIP+ assistance.

WHIP+ Sugar Beet Loss Assistance 

The USDA will provide $285 million through sugar beet processing cooperatives to compensate grower members for sugar beet crop losses in 2018 and 2019. Details will be finalized in agreements between USDA and participating sugar beet processing cooperatives. Sugar beet producers who are members of these cooperatives and experienced losses may contact their cooperative for more information about how this sugar beet crop assistance will be administered.

WHIP+ for Quality Loss

In addition, producers have reported widespread crop quality loss from eligible disaster events that resulted in price deductions or penalties when marketing the damaged crops. The appropriations bill expands WHIP+ to include assistance for crop quality loss. FSA is gathering data and input from producers and stakeholders regarding the extent and types of quality loss nationwide.

Eligibility

To be eligible for WHIP+, producers must have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a presidential emergency disaster declaration or a secretarial disaster designation (primary counties only) for the following named natural disaster events: hurricane, flood, tornado, typhoon, volcanic activity, snowstorm, wildfire, and now excessive moisture that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, losses located in a county not designated by the secretary as a primary county may be eligible if the producer provides documentation showing that the loss was due to a qualifying natural disaster event.

Because livestock losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, these losses are not eligible for WHIP+.

The WHIP+ program was originally established as a program for losses due to wildfire, hurricane, and other natural disasters. It was expanded last year to cover direct losses due to flooding, snowstorms and tornadoes, and now has expanded further to cover excessive moisture and drought.

Eligible crops must be planted or prevented from being planted and include crops for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage are available. The WHIP+ program is applicable to crop years 2018 and 2019. Program signup opened September 11, 2019 and continues into 2020 with no signup deadline established yet.

To apply, producers must file a WHIP+ application (form FSA-894), a Notice of Loss on all crops (form CCC-576) and Report of Acreage (form FSA-578). The acreage report should cover total acreage, prevented planted acres. FSA county committees will review prevented planting acres for program benefits.

Do I Qualify?

Did you suffer a yield loss (2018 or 2019) or have prevent plant (2018 only) acres that earned an RMA indemnity? Was the disaster due to a qualifying cause of loss? You will need to prove to county committee’s satisfaction that the loss was caused by an eligible weather event. Indicate on a map where the loss occurred using an RMA map, Planter map, or FSA map. You then must file a WHIP+ application and Notice of Loss with the FSA office.

Your local Farm Service Agency will ask farmers the following questions:
  • Are you a multi-county producer? 
  • What year of loss are you claiming? 
  • What was the disaster event? 
  • What are the disaster event dates? 
  • What crops were affected by the disaster event? (This would be crops affected, even if no indemnity was received from RMA.) 
  • Were the crops insured, uninsured, or covered by NAP? 
  • Did you have prevent plant? If yes, what was the final plant date? 
Currently county offices are asking these basic questions to initiate the application process. Once the county office reviews the producer’s WHIP-IR to begin loading the application. After that, they can determine what, if any, documentation the producer will need to provide.

Payments for 2018 crop year losses will be paid at 100 percent of the calculated payment. For the 2019 and 2020 crop years, an initial 50 percent of the calculated payment will be issued. After January 1, 2020, if appropriated funds remain, an additional payment, up to the remaining 50 percent calculated payment, will be paid.

WHIP+ Payment Calculation

The WHIP payment formula is:

-Expected value of the crop
x Whip factor
- Actual value of the crop harvested
x Payment factor
- NAP payment or crop insurance indemnity received by the producer
-----------------------------
= WHIP+ payment 

The WHIP factor ranges from 70 to 95 percent. The WHIP factor is 70 percent for producers who did not obtain crop insurance or NAP coverage. The WHIP factor is between 75 and 95 percent for producers who did obtain crop insurance or NAP coverage. Producers who elected the highest coverage level will receive 95 percent.

Coverage Level WHIP+ Factor
Uninsured 70%
CAT/NAP Basic50/55 75%
50%- <55% 77.5%
55%- <60% 80%
60%- <65% 82.5%
65%- <70% 85%
70%- <75% 87.5%
75%- <80% 92.5%
> = 80% 95%

The payment factor varies by state and commodity and is set to reflect the decreased costs incurred by producers when the crop is not harvested or is prevented from being planted. Payment factors are applied if the crop was unharvested or prevent planted to adjust for decreased harvest costs. No payment is applied for harvested production.

Linkage Requirement is a condition of payment eligibility, so producers must obtain crop insurance or NAP, as applicable, on the crop paid under WHIP+ for two years after receiving a WHIP+ payment. Enrollment is required during the first two available consecutive crop years after the enrollment period ends, but no later than 2022 and 2023. Crop insurance or NAP policy coverage level must be at a level of 60/100 or equivalent.

Talk with your local FSA office for further WHIP+ information. Your FSA offices are open for phone appointments, if you have further questions.

Dave Bau, Extension Educator, Ag Business Management, U of M Extension Regional Office, Worthington, 507-372-3900 ext 3906, bauxx003@umn.edu
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