This month, the U.S. House passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill. The legislation will help with the recovery efforts for communities affected by tornadoes, wildfires, volcanoes, drought, flooding and other disasters.
Essentially, the trade aid package signed June 6 by President Donald Trump will benefit farmers and communities reeling from recent bad weather. Included is a prevented-planting provision. In all, $5.5. billion will be doled out for agricultural assistance.
According to a statement this week from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, $16 billion will be in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid will “provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers,” such as those who lost crops, trees, bushes, vines, milk and harvested adulterated wine grapes caused by natural disaster in 2018 and 2019.
There will also be a Market Facilitation Program AGI Waiver, which includes a provision to waive the average adjusted gross income requirement for producer eligibility under the MFP.
All of the bill’s inclusions, Perdue said, are due to the “size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage.”
“Whether it’s because of natural disasters or unfair retaliatory tariffs, farmers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” Perdue stated. “I have been out in the country this spring and visited with many farmers. I know they’re discouraged, and many are facing difficult decisions about what to do this planting season or if they’ve got the capital to stay in business, but they shouldn’t wait for an announcement to make their decisions.
“I urge farmers to plant for the market and plant what works best on their farm, regardless of what type of assistance programs USDA is able to provide.”
According to John Kran, national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau, the disaster relief bill is “another important set of tools that Congress has set in place to help out ag during this difficult time.”
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said the disaster relief measure is an “important lifeline for farmers and ranchers whose greatest desire to keep producing food, fuel and fiber.”
According to reports, the USDA will not offer 90 percent compensation for losses caused by prevented planting in 2019. In addition, the USDA is reviewing its legal flexibility to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price for losses caused by prevented planting in 2019.
In terms of cover crop and forage, the USDA recommends that a farmer should meet with his or her crop insurance agent to discuss various prevented planting, cover crop and harvest options. “Given the size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers,” Perdue said.