Don Villwock, President of Indiana Farm Bureau and a farmer from Southwest Indiana, released a statement on Monday regarding the drought and efforts in Washington to reduce funding from federal crop insurance.
As Hoosiers get ready to celebrate our nation’s independence, Indiana farmers will be looking skyward, praying for rain and some relief from the record heat we are all experiencing. An early spring and ideal planting season had us all feeling very optimistic about the potential yield for this year’s crop. But that enthusiasm has faded as we now realize the harvest for many Hoosier farm families will be limited – or nonexistent. Indiana just recorded the driest June ever and one of the hottest months in our state’s history. Only a small percentage of Indiana’s crops are irrigated, and the rest are being decimated by the weather.
Most farmers have some level of crop insurance and will recover a portion of their economic losses. But even as Hoosier farmers are suffering through an extended drought, Congress is debating whether or not to poke holes in the vital safety net of crop insurance. During early debate on the 2012 farm bill, Indiana farmers stepped up and agreed to do away with direct payments, ethanol subsidies and other price supports in exchange for a strong and viable crop insurance program. A farmer’s biggest risk is the weather, a fact that is being hammered home in a big way this year, and weakening our current federal crop insurance program is unconscionable.
During the ongoing debate Indiana Farm Bureau will work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen and that Hoosier farmers have the protections they need. I have asked our state officials and our USDA Farm Services Agency director to determine what disaster relief opportunities are available as our crop and livestock farmers begin to assess losses caused by the drought. I also ask that our urban friends and neighbors keep Hoosier farmers in their thoughts, and maybe say an extra prayer for rain, as we all look forward to celebrating the greatness that is America this Fourth of July weekend.