The Crop Insurance in My State website from National Crop Insurance Services provides state-by-state crop insurance policy information, fact sheets that can be downloaded and farmer testimonials. "This site really shows, on a state-by-state basis, the success of crop insurance and why it's agriculture's most important risk management tool," said NCIS President Tom Zacharias.
The 2018 farm bill is on track to be heard by the full Senate after passing the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 20-1 vote last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill's preservation of crop insurance is among the ways it "can deliver much-needed certainty for farmers."
Marc Short, legislative affairs assistant to President Donald Trump, said the president "wants to deliver on that [farm bill] for farmers across America." House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said Trump encouraged him to "make it [crop insurance] better, make it great" during a May meeting that also involved Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
Better risk management support for beginning farmers through crop insurance is one topic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., discussed at a roundtable in the state on Friday. Heitkamp, who said the 2018 farm bill is likely to pass the Senate in July, mentioned the value of bipartisan support to farmers nationwide.
The version of the 2018 farm bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week satisfies Montana farmers, in part because of its focus on a strong crop insurance program. "It works for Montana because it protects crop insurance, strengthens the safety net, encourages conservation and meets the needs of family farmers and ranchers," said Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat.
The National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Sustainable Agriculture Commission and the Independent Community Bankers of America are among the groups commending the Senate Agriculture Committee for passing a 2018 farm bill with strong crop insurance provisions. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said farmers are depending on passage of the bill and its signature by President Donald Trump at a time marked by rising interest rates and low commodity prices.
The drought conditions in McLennan County, Texas, that are also being experienced elsewhere in much of the state may limit corn production to less than 25% of average, said farmer Jimmy Westerfeld. "[I]f not for crop insurance, there could be a lot of broke farmers," he said.
The anticipated South Dakota winter wheat harvest of 39.4 million bushels is projected to be almost double the drought-affected yield from last year, but still lower than average, allowing corn and soybeans to become more dominant in the area. Recent high winds may have damaged corn fields and forced replanting of young soybeans in two South Dakota counties, according to a crop insurance agent.
South Plains farmers choosing to plant sorghum as a secondary crop after weather interfered with cotton plans have a roughly three-week window, says John Duff of National Sorghum Producers. Farmers will have two crop insurance options if they plant sorghum after a failed cotton crop, says Chris Cogburn of National Sorghum Producers.
No-till practices, a crop rotation plan utilizing data from GPS technology and careful financial planning are among the reasons behind the success of Master Farmer Bob Shearer of Twin Lane Farm in Pennsylvania. Shearer has served on the Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association board and has been a farmer spokesperson on the topic of crop insurance for the USDA Risk Management Agency.