June 21, 2023 USTFA

Support the Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act

Courtesy of NAA:

Producers across the country face incredible challenges as a result of extreme weather. The Farm Bill is supposed to provide a basic safety net for producers so they can get back on their feet but unfortunately the current system fails too many.

The current implementation of an adjusted gross income (AGI) limitation disproportionately prohibits producers with high input costs from participating in certain USDA disaster programs in a meaningful way. Beyond that sky rocketing inflation means the real value of a dollar today is different than what it was years ago when AGI limitations were first set. Specialty crop producers across the country for example have seen and felt this problem by being denied access to USDA standing disaster programs, most recently in California as a result of flooding. Livestock producers also have seen AGI limitations bar large numbers of producers, for example during the freezes a few years ago in Texas.

AGI limitations are meant to ensure that wealthy Americans who happen to have farms and ranches cannot access the Farm Bill’s safety net programs. Whether you think that is a good idea or not, AGI limitations should never be used to deny full-time farmers, who make their living in agriculture access to USDA’s disaster programs.

To help bolster disaster resilience through agriculture disaster programs Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and Kat Cammack (FL-03) are introducing a bill that will open up disaster programs for specialty crop growers and other producers.

This bill will would:

  • Exempt the AGI limitation for farms that get 75% of their income from farming or related farming practices (agri-tourism, direct-to-consumer marketing of agricultural products, sale of agricultural equipment owned by person or entity, and other agriculture related activities, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture).
  • This would apply to the following disaster programs:
    • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)
    • Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
    • Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
    • Tree Assistance Program (TAP)
    • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

This bill needs your support and the support of your House member.  Please contact your House member and ask them to support or co-sponsor this bill.  The staff lead in Rep. Panetta’s office is Trey Elizondo at Trey.Elizondo@mail.house.gov and the staff lead in Rep. Cammack’s office is Christina Lassiter at Christina.Lassiter@mail.house.gov.  To find and contact your House member, click here.

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