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In January, USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced two new revenue-based programs designed to assist producers who experienced revenue losses from 2020 and 2021 natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) offer a holistic approach to disaster assistance and provide economic support for producers who bear the financial brunt of circumstances beyond their control.

With the rollout of any new program, there is a learning curve for producers and employees alike. ERP Phase Two and PARP are no exception. To encourage producer participation in these valuable programs, FSA is debunking some myths and misconceptions surrounding ERP Phase Two and PARP.

With a June 2 deadline to apply for both programs, it’s important to quickly clear up confusion about how to apply, what documents are required for participation, insurance requirements and related misinformation making its way across the countryside.

The Farm Service Agency contact in Bladen County is Chris Tatum at 910-862-3179, extension 2 or email chris.tatum@usda.gov.

Myth #1 – You need to submit a completed tax return to FSA to apply for ERP Phase Two or PARP.

While these programs are based on revenue losses, you do not need a tax return, completed or otherwise, to apply for assistance. In fact, FSA has an ERP Phase 2 tool and PARP tool that walks you through the process step by step.

FSA understands that you may have questions for your certified public accountant or tax preparer, who was likely been hard to reach prior to the April 18 Internal Revenue Service tax deadline but they encourage you to download the program decision tools and get started. You’ll probably discover that you already have on hand much of the information you need.

The following supporting materials will help you:

• Schedule F (Form 1040); and

• Profit or Loss from Farming or similar tax documents for tax years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 for ERP and for calendar years 2018, 2019, and 2020 for PARP.

• The only reason you might have to provide your tax returns to FSA is in the event of a spot check or a request from the FSA County Committee.

Producers can register for a free webinar hosted by USDA and members of the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee on Monday, May 1 at 2 p.m. for a discussion on completing the ERP Phase Two application form

Myth #2 – You cannot receive an ERP Phase Two payment if you received a payment under Phase One.

It’s possible that you can still receive ERP Phase Two benefits if you received an ERP Phase One payment. There is also a possibility that your Phase Two payment may be offset.

Myth #3 – ERP Phase Two was intended to be an additional payment to those who received payment under Phase One.

ERP Phase Two was never designed or intended to be an additional payment. Instead, it was intended to assist those producers who did not receive relief in Phase One.

Myth #4 – The required insurance coverage for two years will cost more than your projected payments.

While this is a possibility depending on your projected payment amount, you won’t know for sure until you inquire about one or both programs and determine which program might best address your losses. At the end of the day, you may decide to walk away, but on the other hand, if you don’t visit with FSA staff about all your options, you could be leaving money on the table.

For underserved producers, FSA recently made a change to the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) that allows a producer’s certification on Form CCC-860 Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification to serve as an application for basic NAP coverage for all eligible crops beginning with crop year 2022. These producers will have all NAP-related service fees for basic coverage waived, in addition to a 50% premium reduction for higher levels of coverage.

Crops that are not eligible for crop insurance or NAP are still eligible for ERP Phase Two, but producers must obtain Whole Farm Revenue Protection to meet linkage requirements.

Myth #5 – The application process is complicated.

Simply because something is different does not mean it’s difficult. FSA worked extremely hard to reduce producer burden by streamlining their application process to allow producers to self-certify their losses. To reassure you that the process is simple, straightforward and transparent, maybe it’s best if you hear directly from your peers. View video testimonials directly from producers on the application process here: https://youtu.be/I1Cyfbzosvc.

In addition to assistance from FSA staff, they are working with partner organizations who can further support and assist with program applications. As these partners are fully onboarded, they will be added to fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/cooperative-agreements/index.

Program Eligibility

The Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase II applies to producers who experienced revenue losses from eligible natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.

The Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) applies to producers who experienced revenue losses in calendar year 2020 due to price loss or lack of market access, rather than overall revenue losses.

Producers interested in ERP Phase II and PARP, should reach out to their local USDA Service Center to inquire and request assistance. In Bladen County, contact Chris Tatum at 910-862-3179, extension 2 or email chris.tatum@usda.gov. You can also call the FSA call center at 877-508-8364.

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