Weekly Column

More education needed on new crop insurance option

For many years, farmers across the country have purchased crop insurance policies as a way to manage the risk of a yield or income loss. Crop insurance has stepped into the spotlight as the highest costing federal farm program, at about $8 billion per year.

Despite the size of the program, crop insurance has not been available for many types of crops. And, often, for certain crops such as fruits, vegetables, or small grains, coverage is available only on a regional basis.

Sodsaver program could be extended

This week, the American Prairie Conservation Act was introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Tim Walz (D-MN).

This bill strengthens the protections for native prairies and prime grasslands that were established in previous farm bills. It expands the existing “sodsaver” provision from six states (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) to the entire U.S.

Local food served on school lunch trays nationwide

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to recognize the importance of improving child nutrition, supporting local economies, and educating communities about the origins of their food.

In 2016, the Center for Rural Affairs joined more than 220 organizations nationwide to promote farm to school throughout October. This year marks the seventh year for National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress to bring awareness to the growing importance of these programs in child nutrition, local economies, and education.

Farm bill could help farmers, soil health, and water quality

Do you care about soil health, clean water, and farmers’ ability to make a living and steward their land? Time to tune in. Congress has started work on the next farm bill, and now is when they need to hear from you: the voters.

The next farm bill offers a major opportunity to support conservation through the crop insurance program. Crop insurance is a must-have for most farmers. Linking crop insurance to conservation is therefore a smart way for Congress to invest taxpayer dollars in supporting farmers and strengthening stewardship of natural resources.

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