Maryland farmers got a sneak peek at new risk management products during a Crop Insurance Workshop hosted by the University of Maryland Extension. A recent Extension survey found that crop insurance was the most-popular risk management tool among farmers in the state.
Marshall Farms in Baker, Fla., has been in business for over 40 years, navigating the cost of new technologies and weather issues that could threaten crops. Crop insurance is one tool that allows the farm to protect its income during natural disasters, said farmer James Marshall.
Although the House and Senate hoped to agree upon a new farm bill before the current bill expires next week, members of both chambers of Congress have begun to consider whether an extension is necessary. "Congress has done a great job getting this farm bill to conference. Now is the time to finish this deal," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
If Congress is unable to pass a new farm bill before the Sept. 30 deadline, crop insurance would remain in effect, but other farming programs may be at risk, writes Chuck Abbott. In the past, short-term extensions have been passed as a new farm bill is finalized, he writes.
Any negative effects resulting from continued postponement of the 2018 farm bill "would not really be felt until December," said Senate Agriculture Committee leaders Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. The current deadline is Sept. 30, but legislators have suggested that they may not even require an extension if the date passes without a finalized bill.
The damage left behind by Hurricane Florence will result in huge losses for North Carolina farmers, and a first step toward recovery is submitting a crop insurance claim. "For eastern North Carolina farmers, we're hanging by a thread," said Craven County farmer Jason Jones.
Although Virginia did not receive a direct hit from Hurricane Florence, the storm caused excessive rainfall that prompted flooding, along with tornadoes and high winds. Some Virginia farmers are contending with damaged crops from the floodwaters, particularly with products that grow closest to the ground, such as sweet potatoes.
Farmers looking to calculate 2019 production costs should evaluate the costs from 2018, including what went into spraying, planting and harvesting each crop. Don't forget to add in the costs of labor, land and machinery when calculating these estimates, advises Alejandro Plastina of Iowa State University.
Crop insurance, which underpins the nation's agricultural bounty, works like other kinds of insurance, and it is particularly important in a state like California that has such a diverse and thriving agricultural sector. In fact, for most fruit and vegetable growers it is the only safety net available.
Tom Zacharias, president, National Crop Insurance Services