WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that millions of dollars appropriated in the bipartisan disaster relief package this summer is now available for Oregon wine and hazelnut growers.
“When disaster strikes, the communities who’ve been hit need a direct line in DC to the folks who can help them. One of the reasons I wanted to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee was to make sure that Oregon’s interests were represented in Congress, and this disaster bill is a meaningful example of why that’s so important,” Merkley said. “The bill included significant support for producers across the West who were affected by wildfires, such as Oregon winegrowers, and help for those affected by severe winter storms, including Oregon hazelnut growers. Now, two of Oregon’s major industries can recover and thrive.”
“These resources provide needed help so our state’s wine and hazelnut enterprises can recover from natural disasters that hit their world-renowned products,” Wyden said. “I am gratified to have worked in the wake of these destructive wildfires and winter storms to help Oregonians working to produce wine and hazelnuts and the communities supported by these two signature Oregon goods.”
“Oregon’s hazelnut growers are thankful that they will have the opportunity to access federal disaster relief to help recover from this year’s severe winter storms,” said Larry George, CEO of George Packing Company. “Hazelnuts are one of Oregon’s top agricultural commodities, and we appreciate Senator Merkley’s leadership in the Senate Appropriations Committee and the efforts of our entire federal delegation in helping secure this vital funding.”
“We are pleased that Oregon winegrowers may be eligible for federal disaster relief if their crops were negatively impacted by devastating 2018 wildfires,” said Jana McKamey, Vice President of Government Affairs for Oregon Winegrowers Association. “Oregon’s family-owned wine businesses appreciate the leadership of Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden in helping secure this critical funding stream that can help affected growers stay in business.”
The $19.1 billion disaster relief package included more than $3 billion for agricultural producers whose crops were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. This included an estimated $3 million for winegrowers whose grapes were affected by wildfire smoke, and $11 million for hazelnut growers whose crops were damaged in severe storms.
Relief is being distributed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. Producers can begin enrolling in the program, the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), today. Eligibility will be determined for each producer based on the size of the loss and the level of insurance coverage. For additional information regarding WHIP+, producers can contact their USDA service center or visit farmers.gov/recover.