The new agriculture disaster legislation including language about prevented planting was approved by Congress at a time when spring planting season could be at a record-breaking unplanted acreage. But what does this mean for farmers?
Simply put, prevented planting is a failure to plant an insured crop by the final planting date designated in the insurance policy.
Based on USDA’s Prospective Planting estimates and the June 3 Crop Progress report, farmers moved into the late planting season for corn with roughly 30 million (34%) acres still unplanted. Soybeans have a later planting season, but soybean farmers are still facing struggles. Looking at the June 10 Crop Progress report, farmers are nearing the late-planting season for soybeans with roughly 45% acres unplanted.
In 2017, USDA reported 2.5 million acres of prevented planted acres for all crops. Unfortunately, some agriculture economists estimate this year could hit 20 million acres.
Details of the Bill
When creating the disaster package for 2019, language was added that has caused confusion for many farmers wondering who will be impacted. The bill now includes “losses of crops (including milk, on-farm stored commodities, crops prevented from planting in 2019, and harvested unadultered wine grapes.)”
According to Chris Clayton of Progressive Farmer, “The backbone of the disaster funds, about $3 billion in total, builds on USDA’s 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP).”
Congressional appropriates worked on crafting the language and Senators amended the bill several times. “Crops prevented from planting” was not in the original disaster bill, rather it was added this spring after facing all the recent environmental factors. Additionally, the bill raises coverage levels for crop insurance protections to 90% for those who bough insurance policies and 70% to for those who had non-insured crops.
Trump Signs Disaster Aid Bill
Donald Trump announced the enactment of the $19.1 billion disaster bill that includes $3 billion for agriculture relief.
Just signed Disaster Aid Bill to help Americans who have been hit by recent catastrophic storms. So important for our GREAT American farmers and ranchers. Help for GA, FL, IA, NE, NC, and CA. Puerto Rico should love President Trump. Without me, they would have been shut out! pic.twitter.com/HXvYYdcNW5
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2019
Included in the bill is $600 million for food stamps in Puerto Rico.
“We look forward to implementing this disaster aid package in a fair way and working with state leadership to identify where the true losses and needs are to best serve our fellow Americans in need of a helping hand,” said Perdue.
Prevented Planting – What Now?
There are many options for acres suffering from prevent plant. Sitting vacant is a last resort that can be avoided. Grazing and harvesting for forage have limitations under federally backed prevented planting insurance claims. However, farmers can seed cover and forage crops whenever it is best for them. Rules come back into play with harvest dates specified by insurance providers in November.
Farmers can look at history and learn from others who have gone through similar situations before.
Dennis Haugen, a North Dakota farmer, had thousands of acres claimed under prevented planting in 2011. He didn’t seed the acres with overwintering grasses, but planted radishes and turnips.
“Thinking back on 2011, we weren’t able to get our cover crops in and planted until mid-late-July, Haugen says. “But we got just an awesome stand of radish and turnip; it was thick and lush, and it died out over the winter. Going into that ground the next for planting corn, it was just amazing.”
This bill is good news for farmers, but the extend of the impact is unclear. Many Agriculturalist across the country have faced struggles due to recent natural disasters. Will the disaster bill provide enough funding to help all those in need? Questions also circle about programs the USDA will be able to provide. We hope for, and can expect, more clarity soon.
In Ag Nook’s related article titled, “Maximize Profits on Late Planting”, options for those facing late planting are explored further.