FSA started mailing 303,000 pre-filled applications this week for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and farmers and ranchers are encouraged to be on the lookout for them in their mailboxes. This new program, as part of the Extending Goverment Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, aims to help producers impacted by natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and more during 2020 and 2021. The program is expected to distribute $6 billion in assistance on a fast timeline.

To apply for the ERP’s Phase 1, follow this checklist of six steps.

1. Check your mailbox. The form being mailed to you includes eligibility requirements, outlines the application process, and provides estimated ERP payment calculations. The deadline to return the completed ERP applications to FSA is Friday, July 22, 2022.
2. Eligible covers losses to crops, trees, bushes, and vines due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 and 2021. Eligible crops include all crops for which crop insurance or NAP coverage was available, except for crops intended for grazing. *Check the lists of 2020 and 2021 drought eligible counties.
3. Check required forms on file with FSA. There are five forms you may need to have submitted. *If you have previously participated in FSA programs, you will likely have these required forms on file. Contact your local FSA county office if you are uncertain.
4. Check historically underserved status (including beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers, and ranchers) with FSA, if applicable. Producers with this designation will receive a 15% higher ERP payment.
5. Check your future insurance coverage. If you receive ERP phase one funding, you are statutorily required to purchase crop insurance, or NAP coverage where crop insurance is not available, for the next two available crop years, as determined by the Secretary.
6. Check your bank. Once the ERP application has been submitted and signed by FSA, those with direct deposit should receive payment within three business days.
7. Review additional resources. FSA has other ERP-related resources for producers including a fact sheet, FAQs and a webpage link.

In addition to ERP, FSA is also implementing the first phase of the new Emergency Livestock Relief Program consisting of more than $588 million in payments so far.

Read more on ERP eligibility and timeline here.