USDA Secretary Vilsack Says APH Will Not Happen for 2015 Crops- Not Important EnoughThu, 07 Aug 2014 05:30:23 CDT
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack continues to refuse to consider full or partial implementation of APH- Actual Production History- for Crop Insurance for the 2015 crop year, despite it being called for in the 2014 Farm Law. In a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday, the Secretary said he doesn't have staff or computer horsepower to get it done this year- that other farm bill implementation needs must be done first.
A provision in the 2014 Farm Law is supposed to make it possible for farmers to update their actual production history and exclude years in which their yields are more than 50% below the ten year average for their county. That could dramatically improve the number of bushels per acre that they could base their crop insurance policy on and help that farmer be better protected if drought should reappear this coming growing season and hit their farm again.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has been calling on USDA to enact the provision. Lucas has suggested that USDA could at least allow farmers in some drought-plagued counties to update their histories. Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Chairman Lucas in July about the APH disagreement and here's that conversation from July 23rd.
Meanwhile, USDA does not have APH on their "to do" list for 2015. Vilsack said the work on the APH has to be done by the same USDA officials in the Farm Service Agency and the general counsel's office who are focused on broader farm bill implementation issues. Vilsack said it was more important to roll out the Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX) for cotton and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) insurance programs, as well as the two new commodity programs -- Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage.
Vilsack defended not doing APH as simply a matter of prioritizing what USDA will do for the 2015 crop year- and based on his comments to reporters on Wednesday- doing APH for any farmer will not be a priority until the 2016 crop year.
You can hear Vilsack's complete comments on APH from the Wednesday news briefing by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below. AND, you can get the USDA news release here about what they have done in implementing the 2014 Farm Law- six months into the implementation process.
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