Dry conditions threaten agricultural yields across the country.
As farmers continue to look to the skies and await the much needed rain that never seems to come, changes to the crop insurance program will now be providing some required assistance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be helping farmers through this time of drought.
This announcement was made by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). He explained that “As the drought worsens, it’s imperative that Pennsylvania farmers have every tool at their disposal to cope with the possible damage.” Senator Casey also went on to say that “These commonsense steps will give farmers extra flexibility and assistance to ensure our farms and rural communities are protected from the potential impact of the drought.”
Crop insurance and other help will be provided to these struggling farmers.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be taking a number of steps to help farmers to cope with the lack of significant rain. These efforts include the following:
• Federal Crop Insurance Program – in order to assist growers who are now struggling with cash flow as a result of drought and other natural disasters, the USDA is requesting that companies providing crop insurance choose to forgo the interest charges that they would typically add to insurance premiums that have gone unpaid, providing farmers with an additional 30 days – until November 1, 2012 – for the crops to come in the springtime.
The USDA will help further by giving an additional month to crop insurance companies for paying uncollected producer premiums.
• Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) – the USDA will be allowing WRP easement areas to be grazed or hayed in areas affected with drought, provided that these activities are in line with the conservation of the wetlands and wildlife habitats.
• Environmental Quality Initiatives Program (EQIP) – growers will be permitted to alter their EQIP contracts so that their water conservation, livestock watering facilities, prescribed grazing, and other efforts for conservation will work with the current conditions of drought.
• Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – farmers will be allowed to hay and graze under emergency conditions on CRP lands.
The combination of crop insurance and other relief efforts are already working to ease the pain of the current drought that is causing a struggle to farmers that could otherwise be devastating.