USDA announces $4.3 billion smorgasbord of ag aid
Farmers and ranchers who suffered losses due to natural disasters ranging from drought to hurricanes last year will receive $3.7 billion in aid in coming months, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA also announced $500 million in additional funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and $103 million to defray marketing costs for organic dairy farmers this year.
The Army Corps’ $50 million Mississippi River restoration project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a new Mississippi River restoration project, starting with a 39-mile stretch near Memphis, Tennessee, that could help save threatened and endangered aquatic animals. The agency still needs to secure $50 million in funding.(No paywall)
Report: Wetter Midwest led to higher crop insurance payouts, not more cover crops
Rain, snow and sleet increased in almost all midwestern counties between 2001 and 2020. Along with that additional precipitation came increased federal crop insurance payments to farmers whose crops failed due to “excess moisture,” said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.
Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states
Major to moderate flooding is likely this spring from the northern Plains southward to the Gulf Coast, with the greatest risk in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin, and the Red River of the North, said NOAA on Thursday.
USDA announces bonus payments for prevented planting
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.
Southeast will get most of $3 billion in agricultural disaster aid
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.
‘Quite large’ amounts of corn and soy land were not planted
One out of every 10 corn farmers was unable to plant 25 percent or more of intended corn acreage due to the wettest spring in a quarter-century, according to a survey by Purdue University. Soybean plantings also were smaller than planned, with 9 percent of growers saying they were unable to …
Profits won’t sprout from shower of prevented-planting payments
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.
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.
In slow planting year, corn yield could plummet by 21 percent
The U.S. corn crop could dwindle to an average 135 bushels an acre, “a yield loss similar to the drought of 2012,” because of rain-delayed planting this spring, said economist Chad Hart of Iowa State University. In ISU’s monthly “Iowa Farm Outlook,” Hart said the corn yield would be 21 percent …
As soggy fields prevent planting, U.S. corn production set to drop 5 percent
U.S. farmers’ plans for a bin-busting corn harvest this year are being washed away by relentlessly rainy spring weather, said the USDA on Tuesday. It projected a corn crop that is 5 percent smaller than last year, foiling May predictions of the second-largest crop ever. In one month, the …
A flooding reprieve for 25,000 acres of Louisiana farmland
A spillway on the Mississippi River designed to prevent the river from overflowing its levees and inundating towns and cities in Louisiana will likely be opened for only the third time in history this Sunday, flooding 25,000 acres of farmland in the Atchafalaya basin and all but guaranteeing a total crop loss for farmers in the area.
House passes disaster bill by large margin on fourth attempt
The long-delayed, $19.1-billion disaster bill is on its way to the White House for President Trump’s signature. The House passed the bill, which includes $3 billion in agricultural aid, 354-58.
Small ag banks mitigate the risk of rising demand for farm loans
In an indirect sign of stress in the farm sector, small agricultural banks are making adjustments, such as syndicating loans and charging higher interest rates, to offset risk in the face of high demand for farm loans, said the Federal Reserve in its quarterly Ag Finance Databook. The Fed's Beige Book, meanwhile, said spring floods in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt could put an additional burden on a farm sector coping with low commodity prices.
House ag leader backs one-time aid for flooded grain
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 …
Disaster bill sidetracked in Senate in fight over Puerto Rico aid
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shelved, at least for the moment, a $14-billion disaster aid bill on Monday after Democrats and Republicans took turns threatening a filibuster over aid to Puerto Rico.
U.S. crop production unlikely to suffer much from floods
Spring flooding in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt will have a marginal impact on corn and soybean plantings, according to a USDA survey of growers and initial tallies of flooded land. With normal weather and yields, there would be limited impact on production of the two most widely grown U.S. crops, thanks to the huge amount of cropland nationwide.
Disaster bill faces procedural hurdle on Monday
The Senate delayed debate on a $13.5-billion disaster assistance bill, which includes flood relief for the western Farm Belt, until next week, with a procedural vote on Monday to determine if the bill will advance.
‘Extensive flooding’ to continue through May
Spring rains and melting snow are helping to create the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, with the greatest threat in the northern Plains and the upper Mississippi River basin, said NOAA in a spring outlook issued on Thursday.