This is the time of year when farmers are meeting with their lenders to renew farm operating loans for 2016. The past few years have been challenging for producers as commodity prices have fallen, input costs have risen, and severe weather has damaged or destroyed entire crops. With the downturn in the ag economy, multiple years of lost revenue and less than favorable forecasts for 2016, many producers are facing the tough question: can I afford to continue farming? Without access to capital, the answer to this question is a resounding no.
Wednesday night, about six inches of rain fell in Harvey County. It was a downpour that sent farmers in from their fields and may have damaged some crops. Near Halstead Wednesday, heavy rains and strong winds knocked over trees and flooded streets and fields. It was a downpour unlike anything farmer Rod Miller says he's seen in more than 20 years. "Not this much rain in that short amount of time. I don't think anybody remembers getting that kind of water," Miller says.
Around 5,000 farmers in Malta will be given €900,000 in compensation for the winter drought which increased irrigation and pesticide costs and risked summer fruit production. Speaking at a press conference, parliamentary secretary for agriculture Roderick Galdes explained that the past winter had been characterized by an unusual drought, with this year being termed one of the worst in terms or rainfall and high temperatures. “The government has allotted an emergency fund for the damages suffered by farmers who grow fruits and vegetables,” Galdes said, adding that the government would also be applying for EU funds to make up for the funds allotted to the sector.
Farmers who are approached by members of the public who want to fly a drone over their farm should ask to see proof of insurance first, according to a leading firm of insurers. Farmers & Mercantile said from an insurance point of view there were aspects to the use of drones that were still a grey area, but landowners should seek to protect themselves if approached. “Our advice is that if someone wants to come and use a drone on your land, ask to see a copy of their insurance certificate,” said a spokesman. “There are lots of insurers which specialise in drone insurance [so operators should be able to produce it].”
North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm has fined an insurance firm that sold crop insurance in that state and ordered restitution to farmers. The North Dakota Insurance Department announced the multi-layered disciplinary action against The Climate Corporation a/k/a The Climate Insurance Agency (formerly known as Weatherbill), a licensed business insurance entity that sold crop insurance products in the state from 2011 to 2014. The commissioner’s consent order requires a total of $738,106 be credited to approximately 150 farmer customers in the form of premium return and premium waivers.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has announced an investment of more than $1.1 million to develop a hydrology model of Manitoba’s Assiniboine River Basin that will help predict the effects of flooding, excess moisture and extreme drought on agriculture lands. Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay made the announcement of the investment for the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) on Monday. A press release from the MFGA said that recent flood events in the Assiniboine River Basin have resulted in significant crop losses, property and infrastructure damage, leading to unprecedented agri-recovery claims “above and beyond crop insurance.”
The agrarian community is yet to recover from the series of farmers' suicides last year and it may not be adequately prepared for another crisis. The NDA government in the Centre has declared only a marginal increase in minimum support price (MSP) for various crops despite rising costs of agricultural inputs. As per the new norms, while it takes Rs 2,150 to produce a quintal of ragi (the staple crop of Karnataka), the union government has offered an MSP of Rs 1,725, causing farmers a loss of up to Rs 500 per quintal. Paddy farmers are likely to incur a loss of about 36 per cent; toor dal farmers may lose about 19 per cent in revenue while groundnut cultivators can expect a 47 per cent loss.
Kenya has in the last four years lost Sh1.2 trillion in crop and livestock farming to drought. Vincent Ngari and Richard Githaiga of the Departments of Livestock and Agriculture, while making presentations during the Technical Workshop on Agriculture Index Insurance at the College of Insurance, Nairobi, on Friday, advised farmers to take up the new Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme (KLIP).
U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that farmers and ranchers filing crop acreage reports with the Farm Service Agency and participating insurance providers approved by the Risk Management Agency now can provide the common information from their acreage reports at one office and the information will be electronically shared with the other location. This new process is part of the USDA Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative. This interagency collaboration also includes participating private crop insurance agents and insurance companies, all working to streamline the information collected from farmers and ranchers who participate in USDA programs.
Agriiculture experts have suggested that since small-scale farmers are dependent on rain-fed farming they should have their crops insured against calamities brought on by unfriendly weather which include droughts and destructive floods. The experts say that since rains have been largely unreliable in the last few years mainly due to global warming and climate change small-scale farmers have often see their efforts go to waste and a life-threatening famine zoom in. Insurance cover can cushion off looming hunger when subsistence farmers lose their crops. Unfriendly weather phenomena, however, are not the only enemies that worry farmers.
A discussion on Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), presided over by the Vice Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University , Dr K M Buzarboruah, was recently organized here at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). The VC, while addressing the meeting, stressed the merits and demerits of the PMFBY scheme and urged upon the farmers to make use of the crop insurance scheme. Speaking on the event, after inaugurating the exhibition and technology demonstration being held at the venue, Dibrugarh MP, Rameshwar Teli, by giving value on the agricultural model of organic farming, called for adopting the same by farmers for improving the health of soil and people in general.
Farmers and Extension service officials are reporting a mixed bag when it comes to crop damage across Texas after last week's heavy barrage of storms roared across wide areas of the state. Thunderstorms continued to plague parts of the state as a slow moving low pressure system inched its way eastward over the weekend, bringing additional rain to parts of the Upper Texas coast where fields were already troubled by floodwaters from mid week storms that pummeled fields since June 1. Hit hardest overall were farms in Southeast Texas where many producers are reporting damages including lost or stunted crops.
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