The USDA's Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity -- WHIP -- and WHIP+ programs have been vital to helping farmers recover from natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 and should be extended to cover the 2020 and 2021 crop years, said Scott Bennett, congressional relations director for the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We also are aware of the regional sensitivities and varying disasters in the country and making sure that all natural disasters that affect our farmers are included in a comprehensive program moving forward," Bennett added.
The USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers program has issued nearly $7.4 billion to farmers, ranchers and other businesses since launching March 24. The total includes $4.8 billion for row crop producers with the program's second round of funding to include $700 million for biofuel producers and $700 million for personal protective equipment and other safeguards.
Last week's USDA crop progress found no change in corn quality with 65% remaining in the good-to-excellent condition, while 56% has entered the silking stage, marking a 30-point increase over the previous week. Soybeans improved one point to 60% rated good-to-excellent with 63% blooming, 73% of the winter wheat crop is harvested, and spring wheat quality fell again to 11% rated good-to-excellent and 26% rated fair.
US blueberries are on sale in China for the first time through a partnership between fruit retailer Pagoda and the US Highbush Blueberry Council, after receiving approval from China's customs agency in May of 2020. The first air freight shipment of blueberries were grown by Norris Farms in Oregon and supplied by Washington state's Superfresh Growers.
Iowa's corn has hit 68% rated good-to-excellent, and 66% of the state's soybeans are rated good-to-excellent after recent rains. Topsoil moisture in Iowa has improved, but more rain is needed, said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, as hay production is behind schedule, and farmers are feeding livestock hay due to poor grazing conditions.
Colorado's fruit harvesting season starts with cherries in late June before moving on to peaches and cantaloupes in July, strawberries in August and raspberries and apples in September. A frost in October hit part of the state, resulting in 70% to 80% of the normal yield this year, said Harrison Topp of Topp Fruits in Hotchkiss.
Early season grain sorghum tends to recover from hail damage, so try to wait a week after a storm to assess a crop, writes Brent Bean, director of agronomy, United Sorghum Checkoff Program. "Three factors must be considered in assessing damage," writes Bean. "These are percent leaf defoliation, stand loss due to stalk damage, and direct damage to the panicle."