The Agriculture Department will provide larger disaster-aid payments for losses in 2018 than for 2019 and will offer prevent-plant bonus payments of up to 15% for farmers who were unable to seed crops this spring due to the heavy Midwest flooding, according to rules announced Monday.
Prevented planting insurance claims could easily set a record this year despite lower limits on coverage imposed by the Agriculture Department because of concerns that growers were being overpaid in the past.
Agriculture Department officials expect farmers to file more than $1 billion in insurance claims for acreage they were unable to plant due to the succession of storms across the Midwest and Mississippi River valley this spring.
Farmers, who were unable to get into their soggy fields to plant corn due to record rainfall this spring, are not only faced with bags of seed they can't use, they are also looking for warm season cover crop seeds which may be difficult to find.
President Donald Trump heads to Iowa this week to shore up his rural base and promote the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, fresh from dropping a threat to impose new tariffs that farm groups and lawmakers feared could jeopardize congressional approval of the North American trade pact.
House Democratic leaders look to finally push through on Monday a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that a handful of conservative Republicans blocked from passing while most lawmakers were out of town for the 10-day Memorial Day recess.