We now have more details on how much Covid aid money will be going to agriculture in the bill signed by President Trump on Sunday.
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It calls for $13 billion in direct aid to farmers with another 13 billion going to food and nutrition type programs. Of the $13 billion going to farmers, 5 billion of the total is to go for $20 an acre payments for row crop farmers with corn growers getting 1.8 billion, soybean farmers are scheduled to get 1.7 billion and wheat growers can expect $890 million. Another $1 billion is designated for contract growers of livestock and poultry to cover up to 80% of their losses so far during the pandemic.

Dairy would also see some funding under the bill. It calls for the USDA to spend $400 million to buy milk for processing into products that can be donated to food banks and other charities. It would also make dairy producers eligible for payments up to $470 million through a supplemental version of the Dairy Margin Coverage subsidy.

Sign-ups for the 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage Program made a big comeback from 2020. Last year 51% of dairies signed up for the program, a drop of 33% from 2019 when dairy prices were rebounding and dairy farmers thought the trend would continue. But then Covid hit, knocking the bottom out of most markets, including dairy. For 2021, sign-ups jumped 17% from this year with over 68% of the nation’s dairies getting involved in next year’s coverage. Last year, with the falling sign-up, Wisconsin dairy farmers got the most return on investment getting $47.6 million from the DMC. Minnesota was second with $26.7 million, followed by California, Pennsylvania and New York.

By most accounts, the 2020 corn crop across the country was a good one. And reports from the U.S. Grains Council verify that assumption. They are reporting this year’s crop has a higher test weight, lower moisture content and lower total damage than in any of the past 5 years. After testing samples from all over the country, the Council says 94 and a half percent of the crop met the grade factor for number 2 corn. This year’s crop had higher test weights than any year in the past 5, had lower total damage as well as lower moisture content. This year’s corn crop of 14 and a half billion bushels was the third biggest corn crop ever in the United States.

Nominations are open for Fonterra’s board election but a repeat of the drama that rocked the vote three years ago can be ruled out.

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