FB Examining Gaps in WHIP+ Coverage

FB Examining Gaps in WHIP+ Coverage

The American Farm Bureau recently surveyed state Farm Bureaus and found a number of gaps faced in trying to qualify for claims under the WHIP Plus Program. Danny Munch, associate economist with AFBF, offers some examples of the challenges farmers and ranchers must overcome.

“One example that represents some of the nuances of the WHIP policy handbook is that losses have to be related and concurrent to a qualifying disaster. For instance, if you had a wildfire in September and then a mudslide in November that happened because of the wildfire damage, only the wildfire damage was eligible and not the mudslide damage. Some other specific conditions such as smoke-tainted grapes, derecho out in Iowa, hailstorms, D2, which is severe drought, and rangelands damages were not eligible under the friar framework of WHIP+.”

He says closing gaps in the coverage can only happen from a policy standpoint.

“The House Agriculture Committee marked up several bills which consider extending WHIP+, and some of the conclusions from those discussions was not only a proposal for $8.5 billion in assistance under WHIP+ for 2020 and 2021, but coverage for a wider range of conditions, such as smoke-tainted grapes, the derecho, D2 drought, and some losses related to power loss. So, that will help cover some of those extra gaps and related losses that I was talking about. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved $6.2 billion in their version of the extension, trying to help fill those gaps.”

One of the major takeaways from the Farm Bureau survey was the diversity of American agriculture and how challenging farming and ranching can be.

“How does that relate to a uniform program meant to provide assistance for disasters? For instance, rangeland out west was not covered. And in a place like Arizona or New Mexico, in most of those counties, rangeland is the primary agricultural commodity. So, drought that impacts those regions did not qualify for disaster assistance.”