Washington, D.C. (KEYZ) North Dakota U.S. Senator John Hoeven registered a big win for farmers Wednesday, securing improvements to the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), to allow row crop producers to recover their losses from a wet 2020.

"For our farmers this is the preventive plant fix in the ERP, the Emergency Relief Program, and it makes sure that for farmers who had excess moisture in crop year '20, if that got reported in calendar '19, they still participate in the program," said Hoeven. "[It's] a very important fix for our farmers."

After hearing concerns from producers, Hoeven repeatedly raised the prevent plant¹ issue with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie and Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.

As a result of Hoeven’s efforts, FSA will be issuing corrected applications to affected producers in August.  At the same time, FSA will begin sending applications to producers for whom additional information was needed to determine 2021 losses, including producers utilizing the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO). The agency is also extending the deadline for producers to submit their phase 1 ERP applications to at least 30 days after the final mailings are sent.

While Wednesday's development is significant, Hoeven views it as a partial victory, vowing in a release issued from his office to "keep making the case to USDA for addressing issues impacting our producers, including problems with the AGI (adjusted gross income) requirements.”

¹Prevented planting, under crop insurance, refers to acreage that cannot be planted because of flood, drought, or other natural disaster and so is eligible for indemnification.