Vermont U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D) joined U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to help farmers currently ineligible for disaster assistance become eligible.
Some Vermont farmers affected by Tropical Storm Irene are ineligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster assistance because they did not have crop insurance when the storm hit, a requirement under current law.
The Welch/Gibson Bill (H.R. 2905) would temporarily waive this requirement, allowing farmers access to USDA assistance. Farmers taking advantage of the waiver would be required to purchase crop insurance.
“Many Vermont farms, big and small, were completely devastated by this once-in-a-century storm,” Welch said. “These farms are integral to Vermont and we need to get them the help they need. In the short term, this legislation will help Vermont farmers get back on their feet. In the long term, it will strengthen Vermont’s farming industry by ensuring our farmers’ crops are insured in future disasters.”
Farmers in all Vermont counties would be eligible to apply for the waiver.