WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Joyce (OH-14) sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, to bring attention to the destructive impact recent natural disasters have had on Ohio farmers and request that recently approved disaster relief resources be used to assist them.
“Ohio farms account for more than 14 million acres of land across the Buckeye State and are a large portion of the country’s source of corn, wheat and soybeans,” said Dave. “Over the past month, these farms have been devastated by historic rainfall, flooding and tornados. If no action is taken to help them, Ohio’s farmers will face heavy losses and possible bankruptcy. Doing nothing is not an option – the economic strain not just on farmers and their families, but on entire communities is simply too great.”
“This is a definite crisis for farmers and their families,” said Jeff Magyar, a local soybean farmer and board member of the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau. “At this point, we should have been able to harvest 87-90% of our soybean crop but as of this week, we’re only at 17%. Many farms will have little to no income with such a low yield. We need this disaster relief assistance to prevent irreversible damage to Northeast Ohio’s farming communities.”
On June 6, 2019, President Trump signed supplemental appropriations for disaster relief into law, allowing prevent planning payment assistance for farmers who have incurred losses due to natural disasters. In his letter to Secretary Perdue, Dave requested the Department of Agriculture increase the prevent planning payment rate to 90% for farmers unable to plant because of flooding. By May of last year, Ohio farmers had planted 90% of their planned corn acreage, but by the same time this year, they had only planted 38% of their anticipated corn acreage – the most delayed planting start in over four decades. These devastatingly low averages clearly demonstrate the dire impact of current conditions on Ohio’s farmers and emphasize the need for the increase in prevent planning payment assistance.