North Dakota’s Agriculture Disaster Update - November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019

Unprecedented September rain and an early October snowstorm have combined to give North Dakota farmers a terrible harvest season. That’s why Congressman Kelly Armstrong joined with Sen. John Hoeven and Sen. Kevin Cramer in urging USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to approve the state of North Dakota’s request for an agriculture disaster designation.

The state is seeking a designation for 47 counties. Producers in counties with an approved secretarial disaster designation will be eligible for disaster assistance under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), helping them recover from these events that are beyond their control.

As Gov. Burgum wrote to Secretary Perdue, “North Dakota and its agricultural producers experienced every possible adverse weather condition during the 2019 growing season.”

"I thank Gov. Burgum and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring for their decisive and thorough response to this disaster," said Congressman Armstrong. 

Click here to read the delegation's letter to Secretary Perdue and click here to read Gov. Burgum’s letter.

Additional information about this request from Gov. Burgum’s office:

To qualify for a secretarial designation, a county must have experienced a minimum 30 percent production loss of at least one crop due to natural disaster. A secretarial disaster designation allows for implementation of Farm Service Agency (FSA) Emergency Farm Loan Program and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Loan Program for farm-related business. 

The secretarial designation also triggers the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program+ (WHIP+), which provides additional assistance to eligible producers in presidential disaster-declared and secretarial-designated primary counties for 2018 and 2019 qualifying disaster events.

If a county is not listed as a primary county with a presidential declaration or a secretarial designation, producers in those counties may still be eligible for WHIP+, but they need to provide documentation to FSA showing the loss was due to a 2018 or 2019 qualifying disaster event or related condition.

The secretarial designation standard was met by 45 of North Dakota’s 53 counties. Two additional counties with losses under the 30 percent threshold, Morton and Billings, also are eligible for the secretarial designation because of the inability to secure commercial financing to cover losses. The six other counties – Barnes, Burleigh, Dickey, Logan, McLean and Richland – are requesting a deferral from the secretary to allow more time to harvest fall crops to determine if there is a loss.