USA - Climate change prompts talk of permanent USDA disaster fund

The government must respond rapidly to the destructive weather that accompanies climate change, said House Agriculture chairman David Scott on Tuesday, so he is working on legislation to create a permanent disaster aid fund at the USDA. “Many of our farms are done away with because we move too slow” in drafting and passing relief bills, he said. “We are working on a bill to set up a permanent disaster aid that is already there, that we can get help down to our farmers,” said Scott during a “member day” committee meeting to hear the concerns of lawmakers. Scott mentioned the possibility of an ever-ready fund after a Texas Republican sought expansion, to include losses in 2020 and this year, of a disaster package aimed at farmers and ranchers hit by floods, wildfires, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and freezes in 2018 and 2019. “Just let me tell you, this is an issue we are grappling with on the committee … disaster aid is so critical,” said Scott. “I’m trying to put together an effort to create a separate immediate disaster aid fund so it doesn’t have to go the regular appropriations process (which) takes too long.” He added that “this climate is really causing us to come up to our challenges.” The USDA operates a number of relief programs, triggered by disaster designations, and federally subsidized crop insurance offers some protection against losses but Congress often writes multibillion-dollar disaster packages in response to catastrophic losses inflicted by hurricanes, floods, or drought. The stopgap disaster bills may require several weeks of work before enactment. At times, the proposals are considered too parochial to generate broad congressional support. Sixteen lawmakers, all but one from Texas, are sponsors of HR 1692 for USDA assistance to farmers and ranchers hit by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Texas suffered $600 million in agricultural losses from the polar vortex ice and windstorms last winter, they said. Their bill would give producers access to the Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, known as WHIP+ and enacted after savage weather in 2018 and 2019. A month ago, the USDA turned to WHIP+ to help growers cope with the drought that has greatly reduced irrigation allocations in the Klamath River Basin this year. Up to $10 million was available to farmers in the basin, based on drought losses in 2018 or 2019, it said. The money would be given as block grants to California and Oregon to distribute. “By providing this flexibility to the states, the assistance can also be targeted to producers who agree not to use irrigation in 2021, allowing better management of the available water this year,” said the USDA.
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USA - Summer weather still impacting farmers as fall harvest begins

It was a summer of significant crop loss for U.S. farmers as drought and severe rain events tore through the country. As the fall harvest season begins, some farmers are still recovering. In Northeast Ohio, harvest season will start late on Jason Schriver’s 300 acres of farmland. 


Philippines - Agriculture damage due to Maring now over P1B

The damage left to the country’s agriculture sector by Severe Tropical Storm Maring after ravaging northern Luzon and parts of the Visayas has risen to more than a billion pesos, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday.


USA - Storms down fungus-infected crops

A combination of fungus and this week’s stormy weather is ravaging crops. We first told you about tar spot on Monday. It has been devasting to farmers. “Going into this, this should have been one of the best crops the guy has ever raised in to see it now flat,” said Marc Eads, farming consultant. 


India - Exposed at sea, fishers need better insurance to manage climate risks

Rufino Possa, 52, a fisher from Uttan, a coastal village in north Mumbai, returned home on October 2, after 12 days at sea, four days more than he planned. The rough seas churned up by Cyclone Gulab towards the end of September meant that he could not find any catch. 


USA - Idaho sees 40 percent reduction in 2021-2022 onion crop

Idaho onions have finished with harvest and one grower says there’s a 40 percent reduction in the crop over last year. "I attribute it to five different things,” says Shay Myers of Parma, ID-based Owyhee Produce. “There was record dry weather, record windy weather, record high temperatures, record smoke-filled skies and a record labor shortage.”


China - Apple supply at risk due to hailstorms in Shaanxi Province

Last month, the average price of Chinese apples rose by 1.7% m-o-m to USD 1,115/MT due to several extreme weather events in the northwest of China. China is the world’s largest producer of apples, accounting for almost half of global production.


Time will tell if challenging 2021 grape harvest affects wines across world

The heady aroma of crushed grapes (must, as it is known in the industry) is filling the air of wineries across the Northern Hemisphere. Starting as early as August in some regions, and continuing into October in others (depending on varietal and climate), the 2021 grape harvest is shaping up to be one for the record books—not all of it in a good way.


India - No MSP procurement of Bajra in state, farmers facing losses up to Rs 1000 per quintal

The Bajra (Millet) producing farmers of Rajasthan are facing a loss of up to Rs 900-1000 per quintal as there is no MSP (minimum support price) procurement of the crop in the state till now. The issue is heating up as the neighbouring state Haryana is not only procuring it but giving price differences to the Bajra producing farmers.