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Federal disaster designation approved


November 18, 2019

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has approved the State of North Dakota’s request for a Secretarial disaster designation for 47 counties as a result of natural disasters in 2019, including extreme late season rainfall and the early snowstorm.

Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, was welcomed to the Red River Valley on Friday, Nov. 8. Federal and state officials hosted a roundtable and field tour where Northey heard directly from producers and saw the impacts of flooding and an early blizzard firsthand.

U.S. Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, reported working with the administration and Northey, who oversees the Farm Service Agency (FSA), to help farmers and ranchers overcome the challenges of trade uncertainty and adverse weather. To this end, the senator stressed several needs: 

• Providing trade and disaster assistance as soon as possible.

• Addressing under-staffing at the FSA so producers have timely access to services.

•Securing deadline extensions under the federal crop insurance program. Farmers should contact their crop insurance agent to discuss options for a delayed harvest.

• Ensure ranchers can access assistance under the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

“We deeply appreciate Secretary Perdue’s quick response to our request, because help can’t come soon enough for our farmers and ranchers facing one of the most difficult and stressful seasons on record,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said. “We continue to explore every available avenue to make sure our ag producers have the resources and tools they need to cope with these unprecedented wet conditions that are delaying the harvest and hurting our livestock producers. We’re extremely grateful to the state, federal and local officials and all the agencies that helped prepare the disaster request.”

Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring, who was in Mexico with Perdue on a trade mission when the announcement was made. “The designation makes resources available to help alleviate the difficult situation North Dakota agricultural producers are facing,” he said.

A secretarial disaster designation allows for implementation of FSA’s Emergency Farm Loan Program and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Loan Program for farm-related business. The Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program+ (WHIP+) is also available to eligible producers in presidential disaster-declared and secretarial-designated primary counties for 2018 and 2019 qualifying disaster events, which are flooding, snowstorm, tornado and wildfire in North Dakota.

Of the 47 counties included in the designation, 45 have experienced a minimum of a 30% loss in production of at least one crop due to natural disasters, and the other two are eligible for the designation because of the inability to secure commercial financing to cover losses.

The designation makes producers in these counties automatically eligible for federal disaster assistance under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Producers outside counties with a declared disaster may also be eligible, but must supply documentation establishing that crops were directly impacted by a qualifying disaster event.

Crop Production Report

Based on Nov. 1 conditions, North Dakota's 2019 soybean production is forecast at 183 million bushels, down 23% from last year according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area for harvest, at 5.55 million acres, is 19% below 2018.

Corn production is forecast at 470 million bushels, up 5% from last year's production. Area to be harvested for grain, at 3.31 million acres, is up 13% from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 142 bushels per acre, down 11 bushels from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 4.19 million tons, down 27% from last year. Area for harvest, at 149,000 acres, is down 25% from 2018. Yield is forecast at 28.1 tons per acre, down 0.7 ton from last year.

Potato production is forecast at 20.9 million cwt, down 12% from last year. Planted acres, at 73,000 acres, tying the record low set in 1951, were down 1,500 acres from 2018. Acres harvested are estimated at 59,000 acres, down 14,000 acres from 2018. Yield is estimated at a record high 355 cwt per acre, up 30 cwt from last year.

Other spring wheat production for 2019 is estimated at 292 million bushels, down 8% from last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The 2019 area harvested for grain, at 5.95 million acres, is down 8% from 2018. Yield, at 49 bushels per acre, ties the record high set last year.

Durum wheat production is estimated at 25.5 million bushels, down 40% from 2018. Harvested acres, at a record low 600,000, are down 44% from last year. A record yield of 42.5 bushels per acre is up three bushels from 2018.

Barley production is estimated at 32.0 million bushels, up 12% from 2018. Area harvested for grain, at 445,000 acres, is up 16% from last year. Average yield is 72 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from last year.

Oat production is estimated at 9.89 million bushels, up 15% from 2018. Area harvested for grain, at 115,000 acres, is up 10% from last year. Yield, at a record 86 bushels per acre, is up 4 bushels per acre from last year.

Survey respondents who reported barley, oats, Durum wheat, and other spring wheat acreage as not yet harvested during the surveys conducted in preparation of the Small Grains 2019 Summary, released Sept. 30, 2019, were re-contacted in late October to determine how many of these acres were actually harvested and record the actual production from those acres. Based on this updated information, several changes were made to the estimates previously published in the Small Grains 2019 Summary. Unharvested production is a component of on-farm stocks, therefore, changes were made to the Sept. 1 on-farm stocks levels comparable with the production adjustments.

As a result of snowfall during the first part of October, NASS collected harvested acreage for this report for corn and soybean. Based on the reported data no changes to harvested acreage were made this month in North Dakota. Harvested acreage for sugarbeets were also reviewed and substantial changes were made.

As is done every year in November, planted and harvested acreage estimates were reviewed for potatoes and updated as needed based on all available data, including the latest certified acreage data from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).


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