House Ag Committee advances disaster bill
The House Ag Committee has advanced an $8.5 billion disaster bill that would cover a wide range of producers’ losses in 2020 and 2021. The measure was approved on a voice vote on Tuesday and coverage includes damage from the ongoing Western drought, the 2020 derecho in Iowa, the polar vortex that struck Texas in February, and wildfires that damaged California wine grapes.
House Ag Chairman David Scott says he’s very proud of the bipartisan work on this disaster bill. He says severe and unforeseen weather events wreaked havoc on crops and livestock throughout 2020 and have continued into the 2021 growing season. Scott says he hopes and expects that as a Committee, they can continue to focus on disaster relief and engage every opportunity available to strengthen the farm safety net and find a way to get immediate disaster aid out to our farmers, ranchers, and foresters more quickly without delays.
The legislation incorporates provisions of the temporary Wildfire and Hurricane and Indemnity Program. The legislation would also make it easier for farmers to qualify for drought losses.
The bill is expected to be part of a supplemental appropriations bill, with the possibility of funding from a year-end spending measure.