WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, continued advocating to the President and the United States Department of Agriculture for additional flood relief and assistance in the wake of historic flooding in Louisiana.
Dr. Abraham wrote to Brandon Willis, administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency, which oversees crop insurance. He requested that the agency adjust its planting deadlines to help farmers who have lost their crops due to the flood.
The current schedule requires farmers to continue to plant and replant corn up until the April 20 final planting date. After that, there is a two-week late planting period where a farmer can plant corn if he or she wants, but the farmer will face steadily diminishing crop insurance benefits. A farmer can also wait out that two-week period, and on May 5 can plant a secondary crop, usually soybeans, without facing a crop insurance benefit penalty. Unfortunately, many fields are either still flooded or just too wet to plant, which will make meeting that final planting date deadline difficult.
With the historic flooding we’ve experienced, Louisiana farmers are going to need every break they can get. If they are required to wait a full two weeks to plant a secondary crop, our farmers will unnecessarily lose yield, which means fewer crops and less earning potential. Dr. Abraham requested that the USDA allow secondary crop planting to begin one week earlier to help farmers meet their growing potential without having to sacrifice crop insurance benefits.
“Our farmers should be given every opportunity to maximize their yields. Recovering from the flood will be hard enough that we ought not tie them down with punitive rules and regulations,” Dr. Abraham said.