USA - Wildfires leave farmers suffering significant losses

07.10.2020 785 views
Throughout the regions of California damaged by the most severe wildfire season in recorded history, farmers and ranchers work to pick up the pieces, and crop insurance officials encourage farmers with insurance to contact their agents as soon as possible. In Sonoma County, even after suffering severe losses after the Glass Fire roared through the Rincon Valley, farmer Larry Tristano said he planned to bring fresh vegetables to a Marin County farmers market he regularly attends. "We're going to bring a little bit to make our presence known," he said. "Everybody knows what happened to us." Tristano said he lost all his farm's buildings and most of its equipment. "The only thing that survived is our tractor that was out in the middle of the field," he said. The fire "stopped at the crops, but it went around us and went to the neighbor's place, and went up the hill and took our orchard out and almost got the other neighbor's place up there, burned all his fields. We lost every building, every piece of equipment, our refrigeration, our three homes, everything." In neighboring Napa County, the county Farm Bureau has been polling its members to gauge the level of destruction. "I already know at this point that it's going to dramatically affect harvest this year, and the way that everybody continues with it," county Farm Bureau Chief Executive Ryan Klobas said. Farmers and ranchers who have crop insurance and have been affected by wildfires "need to contact their crop insurance agent within 72 hours to file a Notice of Loss," said Jeff Yasui, regional director of tthe U.S. Department of Agriculture unit that oversees crop insurance, the Risk Management Agency. He said farmers would then be contacted by a loss adjuster from their insurance provider, and informed about what sorts of documents or other information they'll need to provide. About 8.9 million acres of California farmland are covered under the crop-insurance program, Yasui said. "For most crops, the insurance guarantee is based on the actual production history of the insureds, to reflect the production potential of the crops, and this program does not prevent growers from obtaining crop insurance if they have had losses," he said. "Crop-insurance policy provisions also allow insureds to increase coverage in subsequent years, and many do so to increase their safety net." About 427,000 acres of California grapes participate in the crop insurance program. Todd Snider, a Bakersfield crop-insurance agent and a member of the Kern County Farm Bureau board of directors, said winegrape policies are created to be yield-protection insurance and can cover as much as 85% of historical production. Farmers claiming losses related to smoke will need to document that with evidence of a lab test for which samples were taken before harvest, Snider said. "The test is imperative to help us determine if it should be a zero-production account because there was, at that point, no good product delivered—but you wouldn't know that until after you received the results of the test," he said. The two most common mistakes grape growers make in smoke-related claims, Snider said, are taking too large of a sample and failing to test multiple varietals. Sample sizes should be 200 berries at most, he said, and farmers with multiple varietals should take samples from each one, and from each unit. For example, a grower with 10 acres in one place and 10 more 2 miles down the road needs samples from both, as they're more than a mile apart, Snider said, adding that samples should be drawn as close to harvest as possible. In ordinary times, the farmer would wait for the test results to come back—but with testing labs facing a weeks-long backlog, Snider said, a grower might try to salvage as much as possible. "You may decide to harvest if the winery's going to take it and take the chance," he said, adding that he's seeing wineries taking grapes before the test results are in, and then either rejecting them or buying them at a steep discount once the results arrive. The testing backlog prompted the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the University of California, Davis, to announce last week that they will conduct smoke testing on winegrapes. CDFA said it can process 30 to 50 samples per day with a turnaround time of three to five days—assuming its labs don't become backlogged. UC Davis is testing grapes through its Department of Viticulture and Enology and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Another federal program that could help wildfire victims is the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus, or WHIP+. Erin Huston, a California Farm Bureau Federation policy consultant, said WHIP+ does not cover this year's disasters—only those occurring through 2019. "That program is going to have to be congressionally extended in order to apply to our current fires," Huston said, adding that CFBF President Jamie Johansson recently met with the administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency, Richard Fordyce, and will soon meet with Risk Management Agency leaders. CFBF is working with congressional delegations in California, Oregon and Washington state, which have suffered severe wildfire damage this year. "There's a lot of interest in having this program reauthorized, not just in the West but throughout the country," said Huston, noting recent Midwestern windstorms and hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida. "Based on the conversations we've had to date, we are optimistic the WHIP+ program will be extended." Huston said she expects Congress to take up the issue in December. Source -

South Africa - Yet more rain could spell quickened end to grapes

In the Hex River Valley grape growers are warily watching threatening skies, again, as yet more rain is predicted for the Western Cape. “If it rains now it’ll cause big problems and the season will pretty much be at its end,” says an exporter.


India - Rain, hailstorm damage rabi crops on 1.74L acres in Hisar

The Agriculture Department report about crop loss indicated that rabi crops on 1.74 lakh acres has suffered losses in Hisar district due to the recent rains and gusty winds, while another 1,190 acres of rabi crop suffered damage due to hailstorms.


UK - Potato plantings have been halted because of weather conditions

Irish domestic consumption remains buoyant with the current weather. However, these conditions have put a halt to all field work and plantings. Exports continue to Portugal and Holland, with good appetite for more as stocks remain tight on the continent.  


USA - Weather disasters cause huge crop losses

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s Market Intel team has created a multi-part series highlighting agricultural losses incurred due to weather disasters and the associated disaster-assistance programs meant to help mitigate their impacts.


Spain - The SENSOPLAG project aims to develop digital tools to predict and detect pests that threaten citrus crops

The Generalitat, through the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI), finances the development of new digital tools for the early detection and prediction of the main pests that threaten citrus crops in the Valencian Community.


USA - Salinas Valley crop damage tops $500 million

Preliminarily, Monterey County officials and agricultural experts have indicated that crop losses from the torrential rains that have hit the Salinas Valley this year could easily top $500 million. 


India - Another spell of hailstorm, crop damage likely over Punjab, Haryana

Punjab and Haryana is likely to be lashed by another spell of rain and thundershowers today and tomorrow. Hailstorm and strong winds may accompany the lightening and thunderstorm, adding fuel to the fire, to cause damage to the Rabi crops.


India - Farmers badly hit due to crops loss by in seasonal rains

Unseasonal rains and hailstorm in parts of Telangana have damaged standing crops in more than 1.50 lakh acres, according to initial estimates by the state government. The unexpected rains and hail storms due to the trough over the state caused huge losses to farmers, who were hoping to reap the Rabi harvest in a few days.