USDA announces US$2.4B in hurricane, wildfire recovery payments

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USDA announces US$2.4B in hurricane, wildfire recovery payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will make payments of up to $2.4 billion to help farmers and producers recover following the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017.

The funds are available as part of the new 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP).

The USDA said 2017 was a historic year for natural disasters, with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as devastating wildfires. The payments will be made to producers to offset their losses from these disasters.

"America's farmers feed our nation and much of the world, and throughout history they have known good years and bad years. But when significant disasters strike, we are ready to step in and provide the assistance they need", said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

"USDA is working as quickly as possible to develop procedures and a system by which affected producers can access disaster assistance," he said.

Eligibility is limited to producers in counties affected by hurricanes or wildfires, and compensation will be determined by a producer's individual losses.

In addition, producers who purchased higher levels of risk protection will receive higher compensation, and those who receive compensation will be required to obtain future risk protection.

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