DelBene Secures $10 Billion in Disaster Relief Support for Farmers Following Historic Heatwaves
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) secured critical relief for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers impacted by recent heatwaves in the stopgap federal funding legislation that passed the House of Representatives today. The bill would fund the government until December 11, 2021, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden.
In June, a historic heatwave with temperatures reaching as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit devastated farmers in the Pacific Northwest. In many instances, agricultural producers in the region couldn’t access federal relief because these programs typically only cover wildfires, droughts, and other extreme weather events.
The legislation includes $10 billion in Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) assistance that will be open to agricultural producers who experienced disaster-related crop loss in 2020 and 2021 from droughts, wildfires, excessive heat, smoke exposure, and other types of natural disasters. This is the first time that excessive heat has been covered in WHIP+.
“The recent historic heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest devastated crop yields and livestock from berries and tree fruits to cattle and shellfish. Farmers and ranchers hurt by the blistering heat this summer will be able to access relief through this bill,” said DelBene. “While this assistance will help our food producers survive and recover from the 2020 and 2021 heat-related disasters, we must make our agricultural industry more resilient in the face of our climate crisis looking forward.”
In July, DelBene led a bipartisan, bicameral group of 45 lawmakers in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to provide additional relief to agricultural producers impacted by heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires.
The text of the bill can be found here.