Tester Secures $3 Billion in Relief for Producers Impacted by 2022 Natural Disasters

Senator championed the Emergency Relief Payment (ERP) program and was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote for this funding

U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today that he secured $3 billion in disaster relief funding through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for commodity and special crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2022. The funding will help offset the financial impacts of crop yield and value losses from qualifying disasters occurring in 2022.

Tester has been a champion for funding the ERP program in his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and was the only member of the Montana delegation to vote for this funding in the FY23 funding bill. 

“I’ve had both good years and bad years out on my farm so I know firsthand that natural disasters and extreme weather conditions can have a big impact on Montana producers,” said Tester. “Our family farms and ranches shouldn’t be helpless in the face of wildfires or drought, which is why I’ve fought hard to secure relief dollars so that folks get the assistance they need. By putting these dollars back in the pockets of Montana farmers and ranchers, we’re helping offset their losses and investing in the future of American food security, which is a win-win for both producers and consumers.”

Tester had pressed to provide a larger amount of relief funding to producers, and will continue to execute oversight to ensure these dollars are swiftly put into farmers and ranchers pockets.

As the only working farmer in the U.S. Senate, Tester has a long record of getting disaster relief to struggling producers across America and in Montana.

Last month, Tester successfully pressed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to distribute more than $1.75 billion in ERP payments and Emergency Livestock Relief Payment (ELRP) payments to American farmers and ranchers.

In addition to championing ERP and ELRP, Tester led a successful, bipartisan effort to push USDA to expand the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program (ELAP) to cover costs associated with hauling feed and water to livestock in drought, and vice versa. In June, Tester introduced his bipartisan Livestock Disaster Relief Act with Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to help ensure that Montana’s ranchers receive the relief funding needed to recover from future disasters. Tester’s bipartisan bill would improve the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and ELAP to better meet the needs of ranchers impacted by drought and other natural disasters.

If producers have questions about these payments, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.