With many farmers and ranchers waiting on disaster relief, farm groups are pressuring the leaders in Washington for results. A group of 135 farm organizations and banks that supply seasonal loans to farms and ranches called on the President and Congress to put aside political differences and supply urgently needed relief in the wake of weather-related disasters in 2018 and 2019.
The organizations highlighted the year’s unprecedented destruction in the letter. Farmers and ranchers are especially anxious for relief because these disasters have come on top of an ongoing downturn in farm income. In response, many banks have tightened credit, placing some growers in jeopardy of not receiving critical funds needed to plant this year’s crops absent some form of federal relief.
“Farms across the country endured an incredibly difficult year in 2018 and the trend continues in 2019 with challenging market prices and destructive weather conditions,” the groups wrote. “Historic hurricanes Florence and Michael, along with unprecedented wildfires, droughts, flooding and other natural disasters, devastated agricultural regions throughout the nation. Estimated agriculture losses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina alone total nearly $5.5 billion. Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri currently estimate losses at more than $3 billion. Droughts have devastated the Southwest, wildfires the West and volcanic activity in Hawaii. Puerto Rico encountered its own humanitarian crisis from hurricanes Irma and Maria. For many farmers, these events have meant near complete losses.”
“The Southeast has been waiting more than six months for Congress and the Administration to enact disaster relief funding. In fact, numerous farmers are unable to secure production financing to plant a crop this year due to the lack of any federal agricultural disaster assistance. Without the supplemental assistance from a disaster bill, their lenders will be faced with tough loan making decisions in 2019.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.