The USDA has modified the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection policy for the 2020 policy year, including adding history smoothing options, increasing livestock and nursery limits and changing Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program indemnity payments. The USDA's Risk Management Agency made changes to the program, which is primarily used for organic and specialty crops, in light of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Fallout from the collapse of the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District tunnel isn't universal, and crop damage is expected to be lower than the $89 million initial estimate, writes Tyler Harris. "Some people might be surprised at the yields they get," said Nebraska Extension educator John Thomas.
The USDA's Farm Service Agency offers disaster assistance program benefits to farmers affected by natural disasters, including last week's Hurricane Dorian. Benefits are available for damages to crops, livestock, orchards, fish and bee colonies, and the USDA also offers an online disaster assistance discovery tool for those in need.
Hurricane Dorian was set to bring heavy rains to parts of the Carolinas, including a sweet potato growing area about 120 miles from the coast in North Carolina. "(The rain) would help to size our crop up and help to tighten the skin up," she said. "We actually need a little bit of this rain," said Charlotte Vick of Vick Family Farms Partnership.
For the 2019 growing season, 58% of corn is considered "excellent" or "good," according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress Report last week, which is 1% higher than the previous week. Soybeans came in at 55% "excellent" or "good," which is the same figure the crop saw a week earlier.
Researchers from the University of Arizona studied how crops grown under the shade of solar panels would fare, especially in dry, hot climates, and found that shade-tolerant crops particularly thrived under the panels. "Farmers could save water, make money from a solar lease, and might even find that workers are much more comfortable and safe working under some shade -- all while allowing solar arrays," writes Scott Johnson.
Technology is key to creating greater efficiency on family farms that are growing diverse crops, said David Wildy, one of the owners of Wildy Family Farms in Arkansas. Those efficiencies are necessary to preserve family farms for the next generation, said Wildy, whose family has grown cotton, peanuts and other crops on the same land for five generations.
Sometimes folks are quick to criticize crop insurance because they don't realize that, like agriculture, the program touches every state in the nation. It has proven itself to be our most effective risk-management tool.
Steve Van Voorhis, New York crop insurance agent and farmer