U.S. Senator Mike Rounds says the drought lends credibility to the importance of crop insurance and the Conservation Reserve Program.
Rounds says Farm Bill negotiations are set to open again next year. The current plan has about a year and a half left. Rounds says he expects a renewed emphasis for a strong crop insurance program.
"A lot of farmers will access and utilize the benefits of crop insurance, where they're paying part of the premium and the federal government picks up part of the premium in order to make the program work... and I think you'll find a lot of lenders strongly supporting the need for a crop insurance program so that they can continue to make loans to producers during time[s] [of drought] so they can get a crop in the ground," Rounds says.
Rounds says the current Farm Bill offers a good framework to begin future negotiations. He says one possible modification includes adding land to the CRP.
"If we can identify marginal areas that would be eligible for CRP...make sure we have the authorization in place so we can get the CRP...and that frees up more dollars within the crop insurance program for those more intensely farmed areas...and it means more dollars for those crops instead of some of the marginal acres that might be pretty expensive in times of drought," Rounds says.
Current CRP land opens for haying on Sunday in South Dakota. Producers seeking federal assistance may contact their local farm service office.