This last week Congress finally passed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill. The bill now goes to President Trump where he is expected to sign it. In the bill there is $5.1 billion in agricultural assistance to help farmers and rural communities that have been hit by floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the last 9 months. A last minute change in the bill just before the Senate voted on it may benefit farmers in Minnesota.

The change allows Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to supplement farmers payments if they had to take the prevented plant option under their crop insurance. If a farmer could not get their corn planted by the crop insurance deadline which in our area was May 31, 2019 they could take the prevented plant payment of 55 percent of their guarantee, Generally speaking that would mean a payment for most farmers of $300 to $350 an acre.

For many farmers that would cover the land or rent costs and not much more. An additional payment under the disaster bill would be very helpful. The language in the bill allows Secretary Perdue to make a payment of up to 90 percent of the revenue guarantee. However, do not put that payment into your cash flow just yet!

Remember there is $5.1 billion for agriculture in the disaster bill. When you think about all the massive flooding in the Midwest this spring, roads and bridges washed out, grain bins broken open, buildings and equipment flooded how long will it take to hit $5.1 billion in damages? So we will wait and see but any payment this year would be helpful.