Ag Policy Blog

Farm Groups Call on Congress to Pass Disaster Aid

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Debris from flooding last month in Nebraska. (DTN file photo)

Weather disasters nationally have demonstrated that farmers are dealing with widespread destruction not covered by crop insurance or other parts of the farm-bill safety net.

Farm organizations nationally wrote congressional leaders late last week calling on Congress to immediately pass a disaster aid package. The letter was backed by 135 groups and banks that provide operating loans to farmers and ranchers.

The letter highlights that farmers are dealing with "challenging market prices and destructive weather conditions." The farm groups cite, "Historic hurricanes Florence and Michael, along with unprecedented wildfires, droughts, flooding and other natural disasters, devastated agricultural regions throughout the nation."

The losses in from hurricanes in the Southeast last year -- hitting Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina -- caused nearly $5.5 billion in agricultural losses. They have been waiting for six months for Congress to get aid package done. Because of that, the letter notes, "numerous farmer were unable to secure production financing to plant a crop this year due to the lack of any federal agricultural disaster assistance." Without federal aid, "lenders will be faced with tough loan-making decisions in 2019."

Flooding in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri has pegged losses at more than $3 billion. The letter highlights other regions have been hit with droughts and wildfires while Puerto Rico faces a "humanitarian crisis from hurricanes Irma and Maria."

Farmers who lost their crops have seen total losses. Many of them also didn't get their crops out so they lost the chance to benefit from the Market Facilitation Program -- the trade-aid program.

The letter calls on lawmakers to reach a compromise and get a bill done once Congress returns from its recess next week. "The livelihoods of farm families and the economic health of rural communities are at stake."

A full copy of the letter can be viewed at https://www.fb.org/…

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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