The total number of unplanted acres this year could eventually top 10 million. USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey says the final number could be the highest in years. The number of acres farmers say went unplanted ranges from two million to 10 million acres.
A USDA survey of farmer planting intentions came out last week but was heavily criticized as out of date and not accurate. USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service says it will re-survey farmers on their planting intentions. Northey did say he doesn’t know exactly when NASS will conduct that second survey. USDA has already processed prevent plant claims totaling over $151 million. Officials say the total is likely to reach more than $1 billion before it’s all said and done.
Northey and Natural Resources Conservation Service boss Matthew Lohr say they want to encourage farmers to plant cover crops if they couldn’t get cash crops in their fields. Northey also says if farmers want to be eligible for the Market Facilitation Program that’s intended to address the loss of international markets due to trade disputes, the acres have to be planted.