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Rep. Arrington, Sen. Marshall Call for Changes to Phase II of USDA’s Emergency Relief Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Representative August Pfluger (TX-11), and Representative Tracey Mann (KS-01) led their Republican colleagues in a letter urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reconsider ERP Phase II implementation and utilize the Phase I methodology for the crop year 2022 crop disaster assistance.

“From supply chain disruptions to surging input costs and historic drought conditions, our producers faced unprecedented challenges over the past few years,” said Rep. Arrington.“It’s crucial that the USDA administer disaster relief as Congress intended. More importantly, as Congress looks ahead to this year’s Farm Bill, we must empower our nation’s producers, strengthen our food supply, and demonstrate fiscal responsibility by avoiding costly ad hoc disaster assistance and ensuring farm program integrity.”

 “Sitting on the tongue of the wagon is important before you roll out any program and unfortunately USDA didn’t do that on the roll out of ERP Phase Two,” said Senator Marshall. “Our farmers back home are frustrated at the unprecedented way USDA is addressing disaster losses, especially when the ag community expected Phase Two to follow in the path of ERP Phase One. USDA needs to reverse course and build off of the successful methodology of Phase 1.”

 “The Emergency Relief Program is critical to producers as they work to recover from the unprecedented drought and economic challenges they have continued facing over the last few years. USDA must utilize the streamlined Phase I methodology as they deliver Phase II to accurately address the crop losses of our farmers and ranchers and provide the certainty they depend on,” said Rep. Pfluger.

“Approaching disaster relief through a complicated, bureaucratic analysis is burdensome for agricultural producers and totally unnecessary,” said Rep. Mann. “Producers should not be forced to deal with mountains of red tape just to receive the funding they need to keep their operations afloat when disaster strikes. The Phase I roll-out of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) was encouraging because it was straightforward and streamlined; that same methodology should be applied to Phase II to meet the needs of producers everywhere, and especially in places like Kansas where we are seeing unprecedented drought.”

“As Texas farmers and ranchers continue navigating challenges caused by natural disasters across the state, it is critical for assistance to be delivered in an effective manner,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening. “While we appreciate USDA for providing assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), we have concerns regarding the methodology of the rollout of Phase 2 of the program. We thank Congressman Arrington and other leaders of Congress for sharing farm and ranch families’ concerns and working to ensure future assistance is delivered efficiently.”