Bishop/Scott amendment would aid farmers harmed by disasters
On Jan. 16, U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia 2nd District) and Austin Scott (R-Georgia 8th District) filed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R. 268) which would increase emergency assistance funding to agricultural producers who suffered losses from hurricanes, wildfires and other agricultural losses in 2018. The bill passed the House by a 237-187 vote.
Political consultant Bob Redding, speaking at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 17, called the legislation a “good template for a good disaster bill,” to help farmers who sustained damage from Hurricanes Florence and Michael last year.
The amendment would increase payments for ag losses from 85 percent to 90 percent for farmers with crop insurance and from 65 to 70 percent for farmers without insurance. The amendment also increases funding levels from $1.1 billion to $3 billion to help farmers who suffered near 100 percent losses from hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters in 2018.
An additional 13 House members cosponsored the bipartisan amendment, six of them Democrats (including David Scott (D-Georgia 13th District) and seven Republicans.
Additional information on WHIP can be found on the USDA’s website by visiting https://gfb.ag/WHIP.
In response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and other natural disasters in 2017, Congress created the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP) through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. This program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides disaster payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters.