Disaster relief available for Valley farmers

A farmer discing a cotton field on Paso Real Highway in San Benito throws up a cloud of dust in the dry field yesterday afternoon.

BROWNSVILLE — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, announced Wednesday that funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available to farmers hurt by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.

“USDA’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) signup starts today (Wednesday)”, announced Vela. Counties in the 34th Texas Congressional district that qualified are Cameron (2018 and 2019), Hidalgo (2018 and

2019), Jim Wells (2018 only) and Willacy (2019 only).

“Considering the challenges our producers are currently facing every bit of assistance helps and I encourage them to visit their local FSA to see if they are eligible,” Vela said. Over $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on its predecessor program, the 2017 WHIP that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

The new relief package included programs to cover losses of eligible farm stored commodities due to eligible disaster events in 2018 and 2019 and prevented planting supplemental disaster payments will provide support to producers who were prevented from planting eligible crops for the 2019 crop year.

More information about WHIP+ can be found online at https:// www.farmers.gov/recover/ whip-plus or by contacting or visiting your local FSA office.