Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urges all recipients to respond to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service 2017 Census of Agriculture that was mailed to registered producers in all 50 states or to complete it online. Results from the survey, which has a Feb. 5 deadline, are used for funding and policy decisions.
Major revisions to the 2018 farm bill are not likely, said Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., because there are no sources of new funding, but stakeholders hope the limited budget doesn't mean that crop insurance will be compromised. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., noted critics don't understand the vital role that crop insurance plays as a risk-management tool.
The 2018 farm bill may be enacted by the end of summer, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, noting the legislation will address issues with cotton, dairy and specialty crops but will not be as wide-ranging as the 2014 farm bill. "[W]e need to make sure there is a safety net for food security at the right level," Perdue said.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the USDA to give New York barley producers the Malting Barley Endorsement, the most favorable crop insurance option. Malt barley crop insurance is currently available in just four counties in the state, but that number will rise to 44 next year.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., contends the 2018 farm bill must satisfy the cotton industry, change the dairy Margin Protection Program and modify the Conservation Reserve Program. "The one thing I'm worried about on the floor is crop insurance," Peterson said of the debate that will transpire regarding the farm bill.
Wildfires in Ventura County, Calif., threaten a major growing area for avocados and lemons, but industry groups say it's too early to assess the extent of crop damage. The county is home to more than one-third of the state's avocado acreage and supplies about 80% of California's lemon harvest.
Corn and soybean farmers minimized losses when they took measures to reduce machinery and land costs, noted consultant John McNutt of LattaHarris, who compared farmers' benchmarking data against University of Illinois and Iowa State University information. Investing in productivity can improve profitability in addition to cutting costs, Willie Vogt writes.
Working capital, crop insurance and hedging strategies all help farmers mitigate risk, David Kohl writes. He recommends learning more about risk-management tools in order to make well-informed decisions.
Crop Insurance SmartBrief to run on holiday schedule
Crop Insurance SmartBrief will run its last issue for the year on Dec. 18. We will resume publication on Jan. 8, 2018.
I'll never forget the faces of young farmers shaken by the sight of their year's income slowly withering in the fields. Most of them had purchased crop insurance, which allowed them to put their worries on the back burner and focus on what they could do right then to make things better.
Tim Totheroh, farmer and crop insurance adjuster from Wellington, Ill., in a Springfield State-Journal op-ed, Sept. 12, 2013