Difficult choices when crop insurance, disaster aid and Trump’s bailout intersect

The farm safety net offers many strands of support to farmers swamped by a historically slow planting season, but the strands pull in different directions, says associate professor Bradley Lubben, of the University of Nebraska. "The complexity for producer decision-making is compounded," he said, when potential Trump tariff payments and disaster aid are woven into traditional crop subsidies and crop insurance.

With an eye to forage, USDA changes hay and graze rules

The USDA announced a one-time change on Thursday to its rules on harvesting forage and grazing livestock on prevented-planting cropland. The move was meant to assure there will be enough livestock feed this year, particularly for dairy cattle.

Chaotic spring may lead Trump administration to loosen limits on trade aid

USDA lawyers may have an answer this week on whether Trump tariff payments, intended to mitigate the impact of the trade war, can be given to farmers unable to plant a crop this year, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday.

Corn losses in rainy spring will be “similar to a severe drought” in scope

Heading into the final week of May, U.S. farmers have planted only 46 percent of the corn and soybean acreage that they intended this year, due to the rainy spring. Economist Todd Hubbs of the University of Illinois said on Tuesday the setback to the corn crop “appears set to hit a level …

A ‘black swan’ casts shadow on soggy Farm Belt

Mired by a rainy and chilly spring, U.S. farmers may soon give up on planting corn in rain-soaked parts of the Farm Belt because it is getting too late for money-making yields, said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois. "I truly believe we are in 'black swan' territory as far as late corn planting is concerned," he said over the weekend, using a term popularized during the financial crisis a decade ago.

Sanders calls for ag trust-busters, large government role in farming

Fundamental change in U.S. agricultural and rural policy is "an absolute necessity," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday in calling for Teddy "Roosevelt-style trust-busting laws to stop monopolization of markets and break up massive agribusinesses." In a position paper, Sanders, pursuing the Democratic nomination for president, endorsed supply management — federal control over farm production — higher minimum prices for major commodities such as grain and milk and a return to a government-owned grain reserve "to alleviate the need for government subsidies and ensure we have a food supply in case of extreme weather events."

Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.

In a break, disaster relief bills could pay farmers’ crop insurance premiums

When Congress passes disaster bills, the government commonly compensates growers for loss of crops and livestock with the proviso they buy crop insurance in the future so they are protected against catastrophic damage. Companion bills filed by Democrats in the House and Senate would go a step farther by giving farmers the money to pay for the policies — a "terrible" expansion of the federally subsidized program, says a small-farm advocate.

Trump seeks 31-percent cut in crop insurance

Farmers would pay a far larger share of crop insurance premiums — 52 percent instead of the current 38 percent — under the fiscal 2020 budget proposed by President Trump on Monday. The White House also wants to deny farm program benefits to people with an adjusted gross income above $500,000 a year vs. the current cutoff of $900,000 AGI.