Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider additional remedies to help Iowa farmers withstand one of the worst droughts in years.
“I heard directly from farmers at my town halls, in addition to the people calling my office, about issues that they are encountering, beyond low yields, because of the drought,” Grassley said. “It’s a tough situation out there for these folks. The weather conditions of this growing season have been challenging enough as it is for Iowa farmers without further complications.”
In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Grassley urged the Secretary to extend the emergency haying period to September 30, 2012. Grassley said that when USDA opened up CRP land for haying and grazing, farmers had a relatively short window to take advantage of the opportunity compared to when farmers harvest hay on CRP land under mid-contract management situations.
Grassley also wrote that he was concerned about the logistical difficulties of inspecting corn for aflatoxin as it relates to crop insurance claims. Grassley said that farmers often are not aware of the presence of aflatoxin, or at least aware of unacceptable levels of aflatoxin, until they are sitting at the grain elevator and the elevator’s sample shows levels are too high for the elevator to accept. At that juncture, the farmer must take his crop back to the farm and find something to do with it in a timely manner so he or she can get back to the next load of corn coming out of the field. The requirements set forth by the Risk Management Agency state that if the crop is not tested by the crop insurer prior to placing it in the bin then no indemnity can be paid for that portion of the crop loss.