Farming is among the most high-risk industries in the US due to weather issues, price fluctuations and changes in demand, but crop insurance allows farmers to mitigate the risks inherent to the career. "We have to negotiate with Mother Nature each and every year to grow a crop and that risk is fairly significant for most growers, so the crop insurance program is essential and the number one priority," said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau president.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis last week to gather input for the 2018 farm bill. Perdue noted farmers prefer productive farming to handouts, and indicated that he understands the value of a strong crop insurance program.
More than half of farmers responding to a Farm Futures survey gave President Donald Trump "A" or "B" grades for agriculture, and 39% of respondents indicated that the 2018 farm bill is their highest priority. Over three-quarters of farmers polled expressed concern that an upcoming farm bill won't provide a sufficient safety net.
This year's farm bill is on track to be done on time and in place on Oct. 1, said Rep. Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. "As we go through this farm bill, the lens I'm going to drive every decision through is what does it do to the cost of food," the Texas Republican congressman said.
Congressional agriculture leaders have traveled to states including Minnesota and Texas collecting stakeholder input as they strive to complete work on a new farm bill before 2017 ends. Tweaks in the bill are expected to involve including cotton in Title I, addressing milk in the Margin Protection Program and reviewing county payments in Agriculture Risk Coverage.
Farmers' compliance with the conservation conditions of crop insurance policies can vary depending on crop prices, according to a USDA Economic Research Service study. The study took into account a significant policy change in the 2014 farm bill that linked conservation compliance to eligibility for premium discounts.
The US agricultural economy is showing signs of stability, despite a continued decline in commodity prices, according to Federal Reserve and USDA reports. Bankers view crop insurance as a key factor in mitigating the effects of sluggish commodity prices and drought conditions, Philip Brasher writes.
Wisconsin's cranberry harvest is on track to dip 9% from last year, and the national yield is expected to decline 6%, according to the Agriculture Department. About 95% of the 5.6 million barrels Wisconsin growers will harvest this year will be frozen for juice, sauces and other products.
Iowa grain farmers experienced wide crop yield variability this year and should communicate with crop insurance agents about old- and new-crop management to avoid audit concerns, writes Steve Johnson. It is not always possible to know loss amounts until harvest, so careful record keeping throughout the season can simplify claims management, he writes.