USDA has released disaster assistance funding for producers that sustained losses due to wildfire, smoke, heat, and more in 2020 and 2021. NVG has continually advocated for disaster assistance for members following the 2020 wildfires and is grateful to Congressman Thompson for his continued efforts in securing this critical funding.
The WHIP+ program has been renamed the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). Funds will be released in TWO PHASES, beginning with PHASE 1 producers. To determine which PHASE you are eligible for, review the following flowchart created by NVG.
PHASE 1 Application Process
Receive Free Technical Assistance with your Application
NVG and FWF are providing free technical assistance to Napa County producers in either PHASE 1 or PHASE 2, in partnership with Morrison and Co. If you are interested in receiving technical assistance with your application, please use the following interest form.
It’s no surprise that the notion of preparedness and designing defensible spaces has made its way into the mainstream vernacular for all members of our community. Since 2017, 60% of the landcover in Napa County has been touched by fire. Across California, over 4.3 million acres of land burned in 2020 alone.
Wildfires may have become the new normal in California, but as a community we can work together to be more resilient and better prepared. To this end, creating fire-ready vineyards and landscapes is essential.
In the aftermath of the 2020 Glass Fire, which burned large swaths of the Viader family’s Howell Mountain estate vineyard, as well as 30,000 surrounding trees, proprietor Delia Viader and her son, grape grower and winemaker, Alan Viader, are rebuilding their estate property through a new lens.
They are preparing for the next fire threat by creating a defensible space that protects their vines and structures and, in circumstances as serious as the Glass Fire, gives firefighters a chance to fend off impending flames safely. And they want to help their wine country neighbors to do the same.
What is WHIP+?
Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP+) program will provide $10 billion in critical relief to growers who suffered financial losses in 2020 and 2021 as a result of:
Eligibility and Application Details
Eligible producers include an individual or legal entity that assumes ownership share and risk of the crop, production, and market risk associated with the agricultural production of the eligible crops (including trees, bushes, and vines) that were verifiably grown/produced at the time of the disaster. The application is anticipated to open in the Spring of 2022.
What to do now to prepare for WHIP+ applications
Growers who are interested in applying when funding becomes available must first establish their farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and complete a crop report before applying.
This can be done now by filling out the FSA form. Proof of farm ownership (i.e. with a deed of trust, or property tax coupon that shows the APN#) and a ranch map is required, and can be submitted via email to your local FSA office at FSA.Vacaville.CA@usda.gov.
Professional grant writing assistance at no cost to small producers!
As part of our recent California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CUSP) grant award, we are offering growers who fit the "small producer" criteria the ability to engage with a consulting firm to receive professional grant writing assistance when establishing farm records and applying for WHIP+ funding. If you are interested in utilizing these complimentary services to assist in your WHIP+ application, please contact Molly Williams at email@example.com at your earliest convenience.
All producers are encouraged to contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office for assistance with establishing records and applying for WHIP+.
Solano/Napa County FSA Office
810 Vaca Valley Pkwy Ste 102, Vacaville
P: (707) 448-0106 | F: (844) 206-0106
Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) Financial Assistance
The USDA has also announced this new financial assistance program for agricultural producers. Growers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit if you plant cover crops during the 2022 crop year.
Contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office via email or phone at (707) 448—0106 for assistance and more information.
Informational Webinar and How to Apply
Friday, December 17 | 10am
Applications will open soon for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), providing $10 billion in critical relief to growers and farmers who have suffered financial losses as a result of wildfires, smoke exposure, drought, excessive heat, and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
In anticipation of this, the USDA Napa/Solano County Farm Service Agency (FSA) in conjunction with Sonoma/Marin FSA, is conducting a short webinar on this and other programs that offer disaster benefits to growers, farmers, and ranchers.
To register, contact Brooke Raffaele at Brooke.Raffaele@USDA.gov
The webinar will emphasize how to register farm records and what is required, including eligibility paperwork, in anticipation of program opportunities.
Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) to Provide Critical Relief to Growers Impacted by Fire and Smoke
On September 30, President Biden signed into law a funding bill including $10 billion for the reauthorization of the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). The program will provide critical relief for growers and farmers who have suffered financial losses as a result of wildfires, smoke exposure, drought, excessive heat, and other natural disasters in 2020 and 2021.
Napa Valley growers will be advised to work with their local USDA Service Center to submit an application when the program officially re-opens. Please note, at this time appointments and applications are not possible until more guidance is in place. However, NVG will keep members informed and share instructions on how to apply as soon as the information becomes available.
NVG has continually advocated for disaster assistance for members following the 2020 wildfires and is grateful to Congressman Thompson for his continued efforts in securing this critical funding.
Updates from the Napa County Ag Commissioner:
Phase 2 of the Napa County Ag Commissioner's 2021 Ag Pass Program is live. The live survey is intended for use by commercial livestock producers, production wineries, agricultural producers/processors, commercial beekeepers, and property owners actively involved in their farming operations. All completed surveys will be reviewed by Ag Commissioner staff and applicants will be contacted by email regarding the status of their application.
It’s important to remember, the Ag Pass is not a pathway for activity outside of agriculture. Approved Ag Pass holders are expected to only access the site listed on the Verification Card presented to Law Enforcement personnel at a road closure. Finally, access to the Ag Pass program can be revoked at any time for a breach of the guidelines.
For more information, please visit the Ag Department’s webpage on the Napa County website, or contact the Ag Commissioner's office at (707) 253-4357.
Growers are encouraged to order and inventory NIOSH-approved N95 masks to avoid a shortage due to wildfires. Employers are required to provide employees with enough respirators for voluntary use when the current AQI for PM 2.5 is 151 or higher. Learn more.
Last year, CDFA distributed N95 masks through County Agricultural Commissioner Offices for pesticide spraying and wildfire smoke protection. CDFA may assist again this year, but it has not been determined at this time. Growers should prepare now for possible wildfire smoke and secure inventories of masks. Many local vendors have them in stock. Find Cal / OSHA sources here.
Emergency Financial Assistance is available for homeowners and renters whose primary residence in Napa County was damaged or destroyed by the LNU Fire Complex or Glass Fire and for workers who live in Napa County facing economic hardship as a result of the firestorms. Aid is available to all people living in Napa County regardless of immigration status or previous COVID-19 assistance.
Emergency financial assistance will be provided to qualified applicants until June 30, 2021. Call the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund at (707) 965-5010 to see if you qualify.
Thank you to the Napa Valley Community Foundation and their partners for distributing financial assistance to 105 Napa County farmworkers to date!
The wildfires and smoke events our community experienced over the last three years during harvest have caused unprecedented damage and economic harm to Napa County. As an organization, we continue to collaborate with industry and community partners to aid growers and farmworkers in fire recovery.
This past week, NVG sent a letter to the Napa County Board of Supervisors in support of funding Napa Firewise's Draft Communitywide Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), to proactively prevent future severe wildfires.
On April 6, the Board of Supervisors will discuss allocating resources for fire prevention and NVG encourages members to call in to show support for the CWPP (Item 11D) during that meeting. Wildfire discussions will begin around 10 am and continue throughout the day, comments can also be submitted in advance to the County via email. Instructions for providing public comment can be found on the Napa County Website (ref. pg. 3).
Fire Recovery & Prevention Funding Opportunity for Landowners
The North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) supports planning and implementation of projects on private forested lands to reduce risks of wildfire and promote forest health. The program provides financial incentives to landowners to conduct this critical work.
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) has joined a coalition of agricultural, forestry, environmental, and business groups calling on Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature to provide stable and sustainable financial resources to prevent wildfires, to better protect property owners and provide safeguards to wildlife, water quality and security, as well as climate mitigation and resilience.
Read the letter co-signed by NVG urging the Legislature to approve the Governor's recommendation of $323M toward wildfire prevention and resilience.