Farmers and other ag stakeholders met with Governor Holcomb and Senator Young last week to discuss this trying season in an attempt to get clarity on what options are available for farmers. As for federal assistance, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler says it’s a very defined process that begins with you communicating with your local Farm Service Agency office.
“The real designation that we have to look at is is there a 30 percent loss in production? That doesn’t necessarily mean acres. It could just be, simply, a 30 percent loss of our bushels of grain to come off, for example. The other part of this that works into it, it’s not just for corn and soybeans. It’s also for any crop; it doesn’t matter what crop. So, if we’ve got forages where we’ve got loss reduction. Maybe we’ve got some areas in the state that could have some reduced melon.”
Kettler says the deadline to get information to your local FSA is July 15th, but the process really needs to start now to get the ball rolling on potential disaster assistance. Kettler says that FSA has an emergency committee to review county applications. The sooner they get them, the better.
“So once those counties report that up to the state FSA and this emergency committee, then we will work with state FSA, Steve Brown and his team, and the governor’s office will look at that then to say, ‘Okay. Do we need to send a letter to Secretary Perdue and USDA to make known where we’ve got our issues and our concerns?’”
That letter would be to request disaster designation for agriculture as some states have already done. Kettler says having the data to FSA prior to sending that letter is essential and that’s why he’s calling on all farmers to begin working with your local FSA office now if you haven’t already to submit your planted acres and prevent plant acres.