June 10, 2019

Farmers Not Planting Could Still Be Eligible For Federal Dollars

Many farmers have been unable to enter their fields this spring due to wet weather.  - Steve Burns/WTIU-WFIU

Many farmers have been unable to enter their fields this spring due to wet weather.

Steve Burns/WTIU-WFIU

Farmers who claim preventative plant coverage on their crops likely won’t be getting aid from President Donald Trump’s tariff payments.

Preventative plant coverage is for farmers who are not able to get a crop in the ground.  Much like other types of insurance, it allows farmers to purchase a level of coverage that protects them against losses. Farmers have only planted a third of Indiana’s corn so far this year, compared to 94% this time last year. 

Bob White is the Director of National Government Relations at the Indiana Farm Bureau. He says the USDA won’t provide tariff relief payments to farmers who also take insurance money.

He says there are other ways the federal government could funnel relief to farmers, but it’s unclear how much or how soon that could happen.

"There are several points of no return, and each one has a different set of assumptions to it."  White says, "Our farmers out there are struggling with trying to figure out what to do."

A potential avenue for those dollars is a disaster relief bill that passed through Congress earlier this week.  Language was added to the bill that gives the United States Department of Agriculture authority to give a portion of the $19 billion to farmers who were unable to plant.

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