WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, introduced H.R. 3821, a bill to include losses due to high winds, such as derechos, in a disaster relief program carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) would be used to provide financial assistance to ag producers who suffered losses from certain natural disasters in 2020.
“I have continued fighting to secure relief for Iowa producers who suffered losses from last year’s devastating derecho, which only exacerbated the challenges producers were facing from pandemic-related disruptions. My common sense proposal would help all those who suffered catastrophic damage from last summer’s derecho and are still working to claw their way back. Moving forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this legislation passed,” Feenstra said.
As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Feenstra led a similar effort in February — successfully passing a derecho relief amendment to the American Rescue Plan out of the Ag Committee. However, due to the highly partisan and polarizing nature of this reconciliation bill, Democrats ended up striking Feenstra’s proposal before making it to a vote on the House floor.
In April, Feenstra led a letter to House leaders requesting full funding for WHIP+ to help ag producers impacted by natural disasters, including high wind storms such as the derecho.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated damages from the August 2020 derecho to be $7.5 billion, which is more expensive than nine of last year’s 10 hurricanes and tropical storms that made landfall. The provision would provide financial assistance to producers who suffered damages as a result of the derecho through the USDA’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Plus Program (WHIP+).
To read the full text of H.R. 3821 below:Derechos in WHIP Bill