On June 4, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressing the hardships Missouri farmers have faced due to trade disputes and catastrophic losses from flooding and requested Secretary Perdue’s consideration of the following concerns as he makes decisions on the implementation of the supplemental disaster funding bill:
- Spring crop insurance prices were negatively influenced by retaliatory tariffs, and as a direct result prevent planting protection is also lower. For this reason, the eligibility for acres prevented from being planted should be considered with respect to trade assistance payments;
- Trade assistance payments and payment rates should be announced as soon as possible to
help farmers and ranchers in their financial planning. The method for determining trade assistance payments shall be transparent on how the calculations are determined;
- We encourage the Department to announce the implementation rules in a timely manner, and proactively work with county-level staff, University extension agents and other agricultural industry stakeholders in educating farmers to the potential benefits;
- Disaster aid relative to excess rainfall or flooding should be made available for all areas of the U.S. experiencing planting delays or suffering from a natural disaster. Preference should be given to areas with a state- or federally-declared natural disaster;
- If and only if trade assistance payments do not cover acres prevented from being planted, consideration should be given to modifying prevent planting payments to include the higher of the spring or harvest price. This will allow growers to purchase crops at replacement value;
- For farmers raising livestock, the Department should consider allowing planting and normal harvest and grazing of forage crops/cover crops on prevent plant acreage or CRP ground for 2019 without penalty and without date restrictions.