June 21, 2019

PHOTOS: Young Convenes Corn and Soybean Farmers, Agriculture Stakeholders, State Leaders to Address Planting Emergency

Crop Progress Photo 1

Indianapolis, Ind. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) met with dozens of agriculture stakeholders for a roundtable discussion hosted by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association. The discussion focused on the difficult planting season affecting Hoosier farmers and opportunities for assistance at the federal level. 


At the roundtable, Senator Young announced he sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging action to help mitigate the immediate and long-term effects of planting hardship in Indiana. Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Representatives Larry Bucshon, M.D, (R-IN-08), Pete Visclosky (D-IN-01), Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Susan Brooks (R-IN-05), André Carson (D-IN-07), Jim Banks (R-IN-03), James Baird (R-IN-04), and Greg Pence (R-IN-06) also signed the letter. 


Senator Young previously spoke in Washington on planting hardship this season and the need for clarification from USDA. Later today, he will meet with Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch’s office and Indiana State Director of Agriculture Bruce Kettler about efforts underway at the state level.


“Indiana farm country needs clarity in these uncertain times. I’m going to take the feedback from today’s meetings back to Washington to ensure our Hoosier farmers are equipped with the right tools to combat this crisis,” said Senator Young.


Phil Ramsey, Shelbyville, Ind. farmer and board member of the Indiana Soybean Alliance said, “Hoosier corn and soybean farmers appreciate Senator Young taking the time to meet with Indiana agriculture leaders to discuss the significant ramifications of this year’s disastrous weather conditions. We need solutions to help farmers through what promises to be several difficult economic years. As a fundamental step, we urge swift action by Congress to adopt the USMCA. The farm economy relies on fair trade markets for the crops we grow.”


Sarah Delbecq, president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association said, “Hoosier corn farmers are experiencing unprecedented weather conditions that have prevented a significant number of Indiana acres from being planted. These troubles combined with market insecurity and uncertainty are wreaking havoc on all levels of the farm economy. While we can’t expect Senator Young to change the weather, we appreciate his leadership in securing markets by finalizing trade deals and working with our federal agencies on assistance for Indiana counties that can’t get a good crop in the ground.”


INFB President Randy Kron said, “Our thanks to Sen. Young for listening to all of the different issues related to the ongoing weather events our farmer members have faced this planting season. Due to the rains this spring, the negative economic ripple effects felt throughout the agricultural industry and rural communities will continue for several years.”


Full text of the letter to USDA is available here and below.


Photos from the roundtable:

Crop Progress Photo 4

Crop Progress Photo 3

Crop Progress Photo

The Honorable Sonny Perdue


U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20250


Dear Secretary Perdue,


We write to you today to express our deep concern with planting progress in Indiana, and to urge you to expeditiously finalize guidance related to the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.


Indiana is experiencing the worst planting progress levels for corn and soybeans in recorded history.  According to data released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), corn planting in Indiana was 31% planted for the week of June 2nd, and 67% planted for the week of June 9th.  Likewise, soybean planting is at 17% and 42% respectively.  These percentages are far behind national averages and planting progress data from 2018.  Delays in planting were caused by six weeks of extreme prolonged rain making maneuvering farm equipment impossible.  The weather forecast for Indiana over the next two weeks also includes periods of heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms.  As the crop insurance planting deadline passed on June 5th for corn, and the upcoming deadline for soybeans on June 20th approaches, farmers are facing a myriad of confusing decisions: planting remaining acres at a coverage loss, switching crops which will affect planned rotations, and filing for prevented planting coverage under crop insurance.


The recent disaster bill includes language that allows prevented planting payments under crop insurance to not exceed 90% and provides additional authority to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price.  As the USDA finalizes program eligibility and application guidance, we strongly encourage consideration of Indiana’s prolonged exposure to rains that have prevented farmers from planting and will inevitably result in a shortened growing season with decreased yields.  We also encourage the USDA to consider using existing authorities to adjust prevented planting deadline dates, adjust the 1% per day penalty for coverage, or other avenues that will alleviate Hoosier farmers’ burden in dealing with detrimental effects from adverse weather.


The Indiana delegation remains united in strengthening our rural communities, which benefit our entire state.  Indiana is a national leader in corn and soybean production, and we hope you will consider efforts to mitigate the immediate and long-term effects of planting hardship in Indiana.