Agribusiness
Livestock Producers Affected by Disasters Urged to Keep Good Records PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:39

Potential Assistance Depending on Accurate, Timely Data for Expedited Help

 

 

WASHINGTON, August 29, 2012 -- USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today urged livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies.

“There are extraordinary circumstances caused by a variety of disasters from fires in the west, floods in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf region, storms in the Mid-Atlantic and drought and heat affecting the heartland,” Garcia said. “Each of these events is causing economic consequences for ranchers and producers including cattle, sheep and dairy operations, bee keepers and farm-raised fish, and poultry producers.”

FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

-          Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;

-          Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;

-          Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures; and

-          Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed.

Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

 
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Highlight the Resiliency and Productivity of American Agriculture, Announce Grants to Help Cultivate the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers at Farm Progress Show PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:23

WASHINGTON, August 29, 2012 – TOMORROW, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will highlight the resiliency and productivity of American agriculture at the Farm Progress Show in Iowa. The Secretary will discuss the ongoing drought, USDA’s efforts to assist producers, and the importance of passing the food, farm and jobs bill. Secretary Vilsack will also highlight the need to cultivate a new generation of farmers to sustain and build upon what is now the most productive period in history for American agriculture. To that end, he will announce funding to organizations across 24 states, including Iowa, that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run productive, sustainable farms.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

11:15 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will highlight the resiliency and productivity of American agriculture, announce funding for beginning farmers and ranchers at the Farm Progress Show

 

WHERE: Farm Progress Show- Media Tent

1827 217th Street

Boone, IA

 
Grassley: Iowa Farmers Express Drought Concerns During Town Hall Meetings, Calls to Office PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:13
WASHINGTON –Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider additional remedies to help Iowa farmers withstand one of the worst droughts in years.

“I heard directly from farmers at my town halls, in addition to the people calling my office, about issues that they are encountering, beyond low yields, because of the drought,” Grassley said.  “It’s a tough situation out there for these folks.  The weather conditions of this growing season have been challenging enough as it is for Iowa farmers without further complications.”

In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Grassley urged the Secretary to extend the emergency haying period to September 30, 2012.  Grassley said that when USDA opened up CRP land for haying and grazing, farmers had a relatively short window to take advantage of the opportunity compared to when farmers harvest hay on CRP land under mid-contract management situations.

Grassley also wrote that he was concerned about the logistical difficulties of inspecting corn for aflatoxin as it relates to crop insurance claims.  Grassley said that farmers often are not aware of the presence of aflatoxin, or at least aware of unacceptable levels of aflatoxin, until they are sitting at the grain elevator and the elevator’s sample shows levels are too high for the elevator to accept.  At that juncture, the farmer must take his crop back to the farm and find something to do with it in a timely manner so he or she can get back to the next load of corn coming out of the field.  The requirements set forth by the Risk Management Agency state that if the crop is not tested by the crop insurer prior to placing it in the bin then no indemnity can be paid for that portion of the crop loss.

The text of Grassley’s letter is below.  A copy of the signed letter can be found here.

 

August 28, 2012

Secretary Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

During my recent travels around the state of Iowa I have been able to observe the harmful effects of this persistent drought.  My staff and I have heard from numerous farmers dealing with the hardship of this year’s extreme conditions.  Even though temperatures have cooled a bit and some parts of the state have finally received some much needed rain, farmers are still dealing with the consequences of this drought.  I appreciate some of the steps the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken to assist farmers.  However, there are still actions your department can take to help farmers deal with these difficult circumstances.

First, while I appreciate USDA opening up Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land for haying and grazing, there is still another step USDA could still take to help farmers wanting to harvest hay on CRP land.  Due to how long it took USDA to finally open up CRP land for haying and grazing, farmers have had a relatively short window to take advantage of this opportunity compared to when farmers harvest hay on CRP land under mid-contract management situations.  Under mid-contract management practices, farmers are able to hay CRP land up to September 30th.  But under the rules for emergency haying, farmers have to harvest the hay on CRP land by August 31st.  Under these near historic drought conditions, this shorter period for emergency haying on CRP land simply doesn’t make sense.  I urge you to consider extending the emergency haying period to September 30th of this year.  While much of the grass on CRP land has suffered under the heat, every little bit will help farmers looking for ways to feed their livestock.

Another issue farmers have been contacting me about is the Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) and crop insurance companies’ handling of aflatoxin contamination in the corn crop.  As reports suggest, the hot dry conditions are exacerbating the aflatoxin issue in many parts of the country.  Under RMA’s “Loss Adjustment Procedures for Aflatoxin” (Revised August 2012), RMA states farmers must have their crop tested for aflatoxin prior to putting it in grain bins.  However, farmers are concerned with the logistical challenges this requirement will present them.

Often times, farmers are not aware of the presence of aflatoxin, or at least aware of unacceptable levels of aflatoxin, until they are sitting at the grain elevator and the elevator’s sample shows levels are too high for the elevator to accept.  At that juncture, the farmer must take his crop back to the farm and find something to do with it in a timely manner so he or she can get back to the next load of corn coming out of the field.  The requirements set forth by RMA state that if the crop is not tested by the crop insurer prior to placing it in the bin then no indemnity can be paid for that portion of the crop loss.

I am concerned on a couple fronts in this regard.  First, given the large number of claims that are going to be reported to insurers this year based simply on lost yields, will there be enough adjusters to deal with this added challenge of timely serving farmers dealing with aflatoxin contamination claims?  In addition, are RMA and the crop insurance companies doing enough to inform farmers of the requirements when aflatoxin contamination is a concern?  What is RMA doing to help ensure farmers are aware of the requirements for when they have crop damaged by aflatoxin?  Is there any flexibility that RMA can provide so our farmers don’t run into a logistical nightmare of having trucks full of corn with no where to put it while they wait who knows how long for an insurance adjuster to come and test the corn?

The weather conditions of this growing season have been challenging enough as it is for Iowa farmers.  I urge USDA to do all it can to assist farmers dealing with the short time frame for harvesting hay on CRP land.  In addition, USDA should do what it can to assist farmers who have aflatoxin contamination claims so farmers aren’t caught off guard and end up with the added challenge of potentially losing out on indemnity payments.

I appreciate your consideration of my questions and requests.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
United States Senate

 
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Announce Grants to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers across 24 States PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:09

WASHINGTON, August 29, 2012 – TOMORROW, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a media conference call to announce grants to organizations across 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run productive, sustainable farms. Under the Secretary’s leadership since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has driven a number of efforts meant to spur interest in agriculture and provide the necessary support to young, beginning and socially-disadvantaged producers.

The grants will be announced through USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) established through the 2008 Farm Bill. USDA makes BFRDP grants to organizations that implement education, training, technical assistance and outreach programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. At least 25 percent of the program’s funding supports the needs of limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as farm workers who want to get a start in farming and ranching.

In the first year of USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, three-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2011, grants supported training for more than 30,000.

 
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