Provision Would Allow Volcano-Impacted Farmers and Producers to Retroactively Sign-Up for Catastrophic Coverage Under the Non-Insured Crop Assistance Program Includes Hirono Bill to Make Macadamia Tree Health a Research Priority
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono successfully included a provision in the 2018 Senate Farm Bill that would allow volcano-impacted farmers to retroactively apply for coverage under the Non-insured Crop Assistance Program (NAP). The bipartisan Farm Bill, which sets policy and funding levels for agriculture and nutrition programs through 2023, was approved in the Senate by a 86-11 vote. The bill must now move to a conference committee to reconcile differences with the House Farm Bill passed last week.
“The ongoing volcanic activity on Hawaii Island has had a devastating impact on local agricultural producers. The provision I successfully included in this year’s farm bill will provide much needed relief to our agricultural community,” Senator Hirono said. “This Senate Farm Bill supports many programs that are critical to Hawaii farmers and growers, and I will continue to fight for Hawaii as we move to conference, by working to advance this and other important provisions as the bill is reconciled with the deeply flawed and partisan House bill.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the NAP Program provides assistance to producers of non-insurable crops – including papaya, leafy greens, floriculture, and aquaculture – in the event that natural disasters destroy crops, reduce yields, or prevent planting.
Under Senator Hirono’s successful floor amendment, eligible producers suffering losses from volcanic activity will be able to access up to $125,000 in assistance even if they had not previously signed up for NAP coverage for the 2018 crop year. The underlying bill also establishes a payment limit of $125,000 for catastrophic coverage and $300,000 for additional coverage within NAP for future policies.
The Farm Bill also includes the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative, a bill introduced earlier this Congress by Senator Hirono, which makes researching and developing management strategies to combat the macadamia felted coccid, an invasive pest threatening Hawaii’s macadamia nut industry, a high priority at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Additionally, Senator Hirono teamed up with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to include a floor amendment to provide small grants for individuals, food banks, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and other nonprofit organizations to promote food security and the availability of fresh food for local communities throughout Hawaii.
Additional Hawaii priorities Senator Hirono fought to protect and include in the Senate Farm Bill: