Changes USDA Made to ERP Program to Negatively Impact Full-Time Ag Producers

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Tom Sell about changes made to USDA’s disaster assistance from October.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with the Co-Founder and managing partner of Combest Sell & Associates, Tom Sell. Hays and Sell talk about new rules the USDA has now put in place for the 3.7 billion dollars of help for farmers that was announced in October.

Combest Sell & Associates represents the Southwest Council of Agribusiness across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.

“They made a massive departure from the rules…,” Sell said.  

Sell said the USDA has changed the makeup of the disaster assistance program in a way that is biased against larger, full-time farmers.

“In the previous programs, you would calculate the loss based on this threshold that is in the law, and has been endorsed by the law, then once you calculate that loss- say it is 100,000 dollars, you would get 75 percent of that loss,” Sell said.

The new formulation of pay limits, Sell said, reduces that amount significantly compared to years passed.

“For anything beyond 10,000 dollars in losses, you only get 7.5 percent of help, and that is not at all what Congress intended,” Sell said.

As the expectations of many farming families have been undercut by these payouts, Sell said he is trying to work constructively with USDA in Washington D.C. and with Congress to see if there can be some changes made to help producers seek the relief they desperately need.

“In our area, in the Southwest, there is a lot of shared rent,” Sell said. “Landlords who may have a 25 percent share, and the growers who have a 75 percent share- in this case, the odd thing is the smaller landlords who have less at risk, and in most cases are probably not as dependent upon farm income- they are the ones who will get fully flushed up, while the producers who are spread thin and highly leveraged across all of their farms are the ones who are going to get absolutely screwed by this formulation.”

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