President Donald Trump signed the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill into law on Thursday. Three billion of the total has been designated specifically for agricultural losses. It will help southeastern farmers hit hard by last fall’s hurricanes, as well as help Midwest farmers recover from flooding that destroyed grain stored on their farms. However, the report says there is some confusion over language in the bill regarding “crops prevented from planting in 2019.”
USDA will have to decide how it wants to divide up the $3 billion in disaster help for damage done by Hurricanes Michael and Florence, as well as wildfire damage to California crops and flooding in several Midwest states. While Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue commended the president and Congress for getting the bill done, USDA didn’t provide any details on how the agency would begin to distribute the aid.
The disaster aid package comes as farmers across the Corn Belt continue to battle wet weather and are struggling to get crops in the ground. Multiple groups are asking USDA to adjust planting dates or restrictions. Farmers are looking at their options as they’ve passed the prevented planting date for corn and are approaching the late planting period for soybeans.