Support Coming to Producers

Staff Writer

Thursday night, Mercer County held it’s 2019 All Ag Banquet where Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins spoke to the crowd about some of the good news that was announced earlier that day for farmers in Ohio. It’s not news that 2019 has been a rough year for farmers in Ohio, and across the Midwest. However, Higgins told the room full of producers and supporters of agriculture that the United States Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday that it will be providing a top up to farmers who participate in Federal Crop Insurance.

“If you had Yield Protection or Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Options, you’re going to get a 10% top up payment on prevented planting,” he said. “Producers that picked the Revenue Protection will get 15% top up.”

There is no need to sign up for that top up, he added, as farmers who have prevented planting acres will automatically receive those payments through their Approved Insurance Providers. According to Agweek, those payments should start in mid-October. Agweek also stated the payments will be delivered as part of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.

Additional payments will be made in the middle of each month after the initial payment as more prevented planting claims are processed. Higgins also noted that 56 of the 88 counties in Ohio have disaster declarations which means there could be more money for producers, unfortunately however, they are at the bottom of the list for disaster relief funds.

“This means that if there are disaster funds that can be divided out to farmers once they get through the disasters of the wildfires out west, the hurricanes in the southeast and the flooding in the middle part of the country — if there is still disaster [funds] after that it will go to those counties,” Higgins stated.

About 1.5 million acres of corn and soybeans in Ohio were prevented from planting this year with 800,000 acres of corn and 600,000 acres of soybeans prevented — record breaking numbers in extreme levels. Higgins shared that the previous record for prevented planting for corn was in 2011 with 205,000 acres; 2019’s acres were four-time higher. Soybean was even more drastic with 2015 being the previous record holder for prevented planting at 96,000 acres; 2019’s acres were six-times higher. Higgins also mentioned that Pro Farmer, a farm news organization, drives around the Midwest every year establishing estimated yield numbers for corn and soybeans for several states.

In Ohio, crop yields were estimated at 154.35 bushels per acre for 2019. In 2018, that number was 187 bushels per acre and the USDA estimated that number would be 160 bushels per acre. Indiana didn’t fare much better as their estimate from Pro Farmer was 161 bushels per acre. In 2018, that number was 189 bushel per acre and the USDA projected 166 bushels per acre. Illinois was also estimated lower by Pro Farmer with 171 bushels per acre for 2019. In 2018, that number was 210 bushels per acre and the USDA estimated them to be 181 bushels per acre for the year.

Despite how difficult the year has been for farmers, Higgins noted that it is important to remember that they aren’t alone in their hardships, despite that it might feel like that at times.

“The best resource that we have here in Ohio in agriculture is each other,” Higgins said. “I was in Tuscarawas County about three weeks ago sitting across from a couple of farmers talking about how the year was going and everybody was kind of down. But as soon as those farmers realized, one of them farmers said to the other, ‘you know I just failed my third cutting of alfalfa and there was nothing there.’ And the other farmers said, ‘yeah, I just did the same thing!’ They realized it wasn’t just them sitting in the cab of their tractor or in the office thinking about what is going on.”