April 8, 2024

Senator Schmitt Questions Dept. of Agriculture’s Warped Priorities When Reimbursing Crop Insurance Premiums Under the 2022 Emergency Relief Program

Co-signers on the letter include U.S. Reps. Sam Graves (MO-6), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), Mark Alford (MO-4), and Eric Burlison (MO-7)

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Eric Schmitt led members of the Missouri congressional delegation in sending a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack regarding the Department reimbursing crop insurance premiums to only certain producers:

“Most Americans would think that emergency disaster aid for farmers would help all growers, but it appears that USDA would instead rather advance the Biden Administration’s woke agenda. We believe that the USDA’s blatant use of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the ERP program undermines the hard work and dedication of our farmers and ranchers,” the letter reads.

“Under Executive Order 13985, titled ‘Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,’ the Biden Administration put forward a policy that ‘the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.’ USDA favoring certain farmers and ranchers in ERP is a slap in the face to the foundational ideals of our nation and fails to recognize the commitment and devotion that all farmers and ranchers share in the work they do to provide food, fiber, and fuel to our nation and the world,” the letter continues.


  • This letter demands answers on behalf of farmers who were unfairly passed over for reimbursements to prioritize other farmers based on race and sex.
    • Recently, a group of Texas farmers filed a preliminary injunction in federal court to stop this warped prioritization from the Biden Administration’s Department of Agriculture.
  • Specifically, the letter demands the following information to be delivered no later than Tuesday, May 7, 2024:
    • How much of the $3.7 billion appropriated to USDA for ERP has already been allocated to producers broken down by each state for Track 1 and Track 2?
    • How much of the ERP funding allocated has gone toward Track 1 crop insurance premium reimbursements?
    • How many total ERP Track 1 eligibility claims did USDA issue to producers that were eligible for assistance? How many distinct Track 2 applications (by individuals or entities not eligible for Track 1) have been submitted? 
    • Please provide analysis from the Office of Management and Budget that required USDA to promote equity using Federal resources in USDA programs.
    • Please provide an analysis of the reasoning that allowed USDA to make the decision to only reimburse crop insurance premiums for “historically underserved” farmers and ranchers when the statute did not expressly call for this. 
    • Has USDA required agency employees to undergo DEI training in order to advance equity in ERP? If yes, please provide a copy of the training materials.
  • Read the full letter attached.