Key Provisions In WHIP+ Disaster Aid

Posted on 09/12/2019 9:34 AM

Details included in upcoming Federal Register document


Signup started Sept. 11 for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) and USDA will publish in the Federal Register on Sept. 13 a notice (link to pre-publication version) covering WHIP+, the On-Farm Storage Loss Program and WHIP Milk Loss Program.


“Participants with crop insurance may receive WHIP+, crop insurance indemnity, and supplementary disaster payments; however, as mandated by the Disaster Relief Act, the total amount of those payments combined cannot exceed 90 percent of the total losses for all 2018-2019 WHIP+ participants with crop insurance,” USDA said in the pre-publication version of the notice.


The total amount of payments received under WHIP+ and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) combined cannot exceed 90% of the total losses for all 2018-2019 WHIP+ participants with NAP coverage.


The total amount of payments received under WHIP+ cannot exceed 70% of the total losses for all 2018-2019 participants without crop insurance or NAP coverage.


WHIP+ factors will be between 70%, for uninsured crops, and 95% for crops for which a producer obtained greater than an 80% crop insurance coverage level.


Coverage Level

     WHIP+ Payment
        Factor (%)

No crop insurance or no NAP coverage


Catastrophic coverage


More than catastrophic coverage but less than 55%


At least 55%, but less than 60%


At least 60%, but less than 65%


At least 65%, but less than 70%


At least 70%, but less than 75%


At least 75%, but less than 80%


At least 80%



WHIP+ payments for yield-based crop losses will be calculated based on all acreage of the crop in a unit. “Eligible acreage includes prevented planting acreage for participants without crop insurance, therefore, the eligible acreage excludes 2019 crop year prevented planting acres of insured crops,” USDA said.


As for production information, USDA said that will include “evidence provided by the participant that is used to substantiate the amount of production reported when verifiable records are not available, including copies of receipts, ledgers of income, income statements of deposit slips, register tapes, invoices for custom harvesting, and records to verify production costs, contemporaneous measurements, truck scale tickets, and contemporaneous diaries that are determined acceptable by the FSA county committee.”


A key question has arisen on the prevented planting coverage because a press release from USDA announcing the WHIP+ program stated: “As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019.” That statement caused confusion in farm country on whether the WHIP+ prevented planting provisions covered 2019 prevent plantings for corn, soybeans, etc., in the Midwest where the final planting date was well into 2019. However, the final rule to be published Sept. 13 states the following on the prevented planting supplemental disaster payment: Eligible crops are 2019 crop-year crops with a final planting date that falls in the 2019 calendar year.” That would appear to answer the question on whether spring-planted crops in the Midwest are covered by the WHIP+ program.


Also, USDA stated, “The payment limitations required under the WHIP+ program are not applicable for prevented planting supplemental disaster payments.”


The following natural disasters are covered by WHIP+ and the expanded 2017 WHIP program:

  • Hurricanes Florence and Michael brought wind and flooding to the Carolina coastal plains and to regions of Florida, Georgia and Alabama;
  • The Carr, Woolsey and Camp Fires burned nearly 1 percent of California;
  • Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano eruption, compounded by damage from Hurricane Lane affected high-value crops like macadamia, coffee and papaya;
  • Snowstorms and heavy rains caused flooding throughout the country that destroyed crops; and
  • In the spring of 2019, wet fields prevented planting on nearly 20 million acres.

USDA estimates about $2.9 billion in combined payments will be made via the 2018 WHIP+ and remaining 2017 WHIP appropriations, with most benefits going to producers with 2018 hurricane losses in the Southeast and 2019 prevented plantings in the midwestern states.


USDA said their final rule “includes an estimated $1.223 billion in indemnities for 2018 and 2019 eligible disasters to date, and $535 million for a 10% to 15% percent expansion of existing coverage on prevented plantings by RMA,” USDA said. “After factoring in estimated payments for on-farm storage losses of $50 million and eligible milk losses of $5 million, we anticipate expenditures of $1.813 billion to count against the $3 billion appropriated funds.”


Those with losses in 2019 under eligible disasters can get WHIP+ payments, USDA noted, but added: “However, after accounting for prevented planting acres and without knowledge of other significant, eligible 2019 damage at this time, no assumptions are made in the cost benefit analysis about availability of funds for other 2019 disasters except that WHIP+ payments for 2019 and 2020 crop losses due to weather events in 2019 will be prorated at 50% in 2019 and subsequent payments in 2020 will be made up to the remaining 50% of losses to the extent that appropriated funds are still available.” USDA said their current estimates are that $1.87 billion would be available for WHIP+ payments for 2019 and 2020 crop losses and block grants to states.


USDA reiterated the payment limits are $125,000 combined for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years, if less than 75% of the person or legal entity's average adjusted gross income is average adjusted gross farm income; or


$250,000 for each of the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years, if 75% or more of the average adjusted gross income of the person or legal entity is average adjusted gross farm income, and such payments cannot exceed a total of $500,000 combined for all of the 2018, 2019, and 2020 crop years.


On-Farm Storage Loss program details are now also available. Payments will be calculated by multiplying the loss quantity times a price determined by the Secretary then multiplied by a 75% factor.


Payments will be issued after sign-up until February 2020 for losses incurred during calendar years 2018 and 2019.


There is no adjusted gross income (AGI) test for the storage loss payments and there is a per-entity payment limit of $125,000.


An FSA payment rate will be used to calculate the payment for commodities lost while stored based on the following:




     FSA Payment

     Factored Payment

















Dry Peas








Grain Sorghum




Large Chickpeas








Mustard Seed
















Rice (long grain)




Rice (med/short grain)








Seed Cotton (all types)




Sesame Seed




Small Chickpeas








Sunflower Seed/Oil




Sunflower Seed/ Non-oil




Wheat: Durum




Hard Red Spring




Hard White Wheat




Soft Red Winter




Soft White Spring




Hay – All Hay





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