Michigan Farmers Eligible for State, Federal Relief

Unprecedented rainfall delayed or prevented planting of key crops

Michigan farmers will be eligible for state and federal relief programs after facing crushing challenges during the third-wettest spring in Michigan’s history, which delayed or prevented them from planting commodity crops.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently requested the relief from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who announced the department would provide more flexibility in requirements within Federal Crop Insurance. The decision allows farmers to hay or graze cover crops planted on “prevented plant acres,” which refers to acreage that cannot be planted because of flood, drought, or other natural disaster and makes farmers eligible for compensation for their losses.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency would also extend the deadline to report prevented planting acres in select counties.

“This is a win for farmers across our state who are in the midst of one of the toughest periods for farming in Michigan history,” Whitmer said. “I’m glad the federal government has recognized the importance of Michigan’s agriculture industry to our families and our economy, and I encourage Secretary Perdue to continue providing support by approving a USDA Secretarial Disaster Designation for the state of Michigan and ensuring that all Michigan farmers are eligible for the disaster assistance recently approved by Congress.”

Michigan has seen 37.9 inches of rainfall between May 1, 2018 and April 30 of this year. This weather has delayed and prevented farmers from planting their crops as usual, with 64 out of Michigan’s 83 counties requesting disaster designations from the USDA this year.

Additionally the state Legislature recently announced a $15 million program that allows financial institutions to make low-interest loans to farmers, growers, processors and farm-related retailers. The state will pay the loan origination fees to reduce the cost of loans to farmers and provide them with support as a result of the unprecedented rainfall.

 

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