Senator Murray Applauds USDA Release of $191M Emergency Relief Funds to Washington State Farmers

In October, Sen. Murray Led a Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter to Sec. Vilsack on Expanding Eligibility for Funds in Washington State

(Seattle, WA) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) hailed the release of an estimated $191 million in emergency relief funds to farmers and producers in Washington state whose crops were impacted by natural disasters in 2020 or 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset crop yield and value losses. Today’s announcement is phase one of relief for commodity and specialty crop producers—USDA will evaluate gaps in coverage for ERP and the Emergency Livestock Relief Program in developing phase two of the program and utilize remaining funding to support eligible producers. Interested producers should contact their local FSA office for more information.

“Last year’s extreme heat wave and drought was devastating for our farmers and ranchers—in the face of a worsening climate crisis, the federal government needs to step up for the Washington state growers and producers who keep our shelves stocked,” said Senator Murray. “I’m glad we could bring back some badly-needed federal dollars to help our farmers and ranchers during a really tough time. I will always have the backs of Washington state farmers who keep food on our tables and our families fed.”

This nearly $200 million support for farmers and ranchers comes following a bipartisan, bicameral effort led by Senator Murray urging Secretary Tom Vilsack to take into account all statutory eligibility for these funds so that Pacific Northwest farming operations impacted by severe weather events got a fair cut. You can read the letter Senator Murray and others sent to Sec. Vilsack here.

In September of last year, Senator Murray cosponsored and helped pass the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which included $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, smoke exposure, hurricanes, floods, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021.

A factsheet on the program can also be found here.