Clements: Farmers and ranchers will receive much-needed assistance from the recently signed federal disaster aid package. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, says the aid will help farmers rebuild from severe weather.
Newton: The package includes more than $3 billion in farm disaster relief, another $1.5 billion in conservation restoration programs, such as wetland restoration, forest repair, and then another $600 million in relief for Puerto Rico. The farm part of that is really going to help folks that had hurricane damage in the last year, as well as damaged crops and prevent plant.
Clements: While little details are available, Newton says farmers need assistance because of the challenging planting season.
Newton: We don’t know yet whether that’s a state or federal disaster declared area, we don’t’ yet have the implementation rules for that, but given the historically slow pace of planting, the anticipation of record prevent planting in corn this year, we anticipate some disaster money there as well.
Clements: The aid package will also cover stored grains in areas that flooded this spring. Newton says it’s important to remember the disaster aid package is separate from the trade mitigation package recently announced by the Department of Agriculture.
Newton: We have two assistance packages, one that encourages planting, and then the disaster package, especially on the prevent side, that discourages planting. So, there’s a lot of confusion from farmers and ranchers on what these two programs are going to do. We’re communicating the concerns from our members from across the county on both the trade aid and the disaster package to make sure that these are implemented in a farmer-friendly manner and in a timely manner so that farmers have all the necessary information they need.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.