Congress needs to modernize the crop insurance program and update farm subsidies to reflect higher input costs and volatile commodity markets when it writes the new farm bill, said the leader of the largest U.S. farm group at a listening session in Texas on Wednesday. An anti-hunger leader asked lawmakers to “keep the importance of access to SNAP and the adequacy of those benefits top of mind throughout farm bill discussions.”
The government could save more than $2 billion a year if it replaced the public-private partnership of the crop insurance program with simpler and more tightly targeted disaster programs, said two agricultural economists. In an analysis for the American Enterprise Institute, Eric Belasco and Vincent Smith said a template for the less expensive program was the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) insurance product offered by USDA.
Farmers and ranchers would be eligible for $10 billion in disaster relief for losses in 2020 and this year under the short-term government funding bill passed by Congress on Thursday. The bill also extended the life of a livestock price-reporting bill until Dec. 3, giving lawmakers time to agree on a multiyear reauthorization.
Responding to calamities that range from drought in the West to floods in the Southeast, the House Agriculture Committee approved an $8.5 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday to cover farm and ranch losses in 2020 and this year. Producers would be eligible for up to $250,000 a year in aid.
The government must respond rapidly to the destructive weather that accompanies climate change, said House Agriculture chairman David Scott on Tuesday, so he is working on legislation to create a permanent disaster aid fund at the USDA. “Many of our farms are done away with because we move too …
The Trump administration will send billions of dollars in cash to farmers and ranchers to offset low prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and it will buy goods to assure there are no gaps in the food supply, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday night. (No paywall)
Congress is on the verge of retroactive restoration of the $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax credit, a result of the last-minute inclusion of a package of tax breaks in a mammoth government funding bill. The House passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Senate is expected to approve it by the end of the week.
Farmers are in line for a “top-up” payment of up to 15 percent if they received a prevented-planting indemnity from crop insurers this year due to flooding or excessive rainfall, said the USDA on Thursday.
Floods and crop-delaying rains in the Midwest generated a lot of attention, but the hurricane-hit U.S. Southeast will see the bulk of the $3 billion allocated by Congress for agricultural disaster relief, said Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey on Thursday.
Some growers may collect three or even four payments on land where they were unable to plant a crop this spring due to persistent rain and flooding, but no one is going to get rich off of it, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.
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.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says “we will take action” as early as this week to pass a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that allots $3 billion for agriculture, including compensation for farmers prevented from planting crops due to floods and rain this spring. A Texas Republican …
On Thursday, with President Trump giving his support, the Senate passed a $19.1-billion disaster bill that includes $3 billion for farmers hit by flooding and severe wet weather this spring along with aid to producers pounded last year by hurricanes in the South, wildfires in the West, and volcanoes in Hawaii.
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.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers ought to be considered for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. Perdue gave conditional support to compensation at nearly the same time the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee called for a one-time grain payment …
Senate Democrats proposed a $16.7 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday, hoping to break a deadlock over aid to Puerto Rico with a package that provides more money for hurricane and flood recovery on the mainland. During a House hearing, Farm Credit System leaders called for assistance to …
Two days after he signed a disaster proclamation for Nebraska, President Trump issued a similar declaration for Iowa, making federal assistance available in both states. Another avenue for aid could open this week — the Senate may vote on a $13.5-billion disaster relief bill that might be revised to include money for flood-hit portions of the northern Plains and the western Corn Belt.
Three lawmakers who personally received federal disaster aid packages for their farms over several years were among the handful of representatives who voted on Sept. 8 against federal relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, said a post by the blog Republic of Awesome. The assertion is based on publicly available farm payment data published by the Environmental Working Group in its Farm Subsidy Database.
The chairman of a House Agriculture subcommittee proposed a tax-deferred disaster savings account that farmers could tap during hard times without waiting for government assistance. Rep. Rick Crawford said the damaging rains in his home state of Arkansas last month show the merit of letting producers take disaster preparedness into their own hands.