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Montana Ag Network: June 6th Report – Ag Retailers Association letter, hail insurance

The Ag Retailers Association is expressing concerns regarding the potential lack of planting, and its impact on retailers.

The association explained in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that the supplemental disaster relief passed by Congress may have “unintended consequences” in harming retailers. The association is urging Perdue to implement disaster aid in a way that doesn’t harm its members.

In the letter, Ag Retailers Association President Daren Coppock says the association “wholeheartedly” supports the efforts by Congress. However, agriculture retailers that sell inputs to farmers could be left holding the products, which would either drop in value, or be of no value at all, if widespread preventative planting occurs.

Montana’s producers are no stranger to severe weather, and with temperatures rising across the state so are the chances of significant and severe hailstorms.

The Montana State Hail Program began its operations earlier this Spring and staff is prepared to accept new policies through August 15, 2019.

Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land.

Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. Staff is available 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday to accept policies, file claims, and to answer any questions producers might have regarding coverage options.

State hail insurance forms are available online or by calling the office in Helena.

U.S. and Mexican trade negotiators continue to work on reaching a deal to prevent punitive U.S. tariffs from into effect over border security. Montana Senator Jon Tester has concerns about this latest round of trade tariffs and says export markets like Mexico are important for farmers like him.

“It’s a problem from a visual standpoint number one and a credibility standpoint” said Tester. “But number two, we need those markets. From an agricultural standpoint, whether your’re Grassley or Tester or any other farmer or rancher, we need those foreign markets.”

President Trump sparked the last-minute meeting between the two countries after announcing on Twitter last week that he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports beginning this Monday, June 10th.

Producers are wrapping up planting of the 2019 spring wheat crop. Nationwide, 93 percent of the spring wheat crop has been planted, slightly behind average. All major producing states are at least 93 percent planted, except South Dakota.

USDA’s weekly crop progress report indicates that 83 percent of the U.S. spring wheat crop is in good to excellent condition compared to 70 percent last year. Crop condition ratings in Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota are very high with 86 to 88 percent rated good to excellent. In South Dakota, a little over half of the crop is rated good to excellent.

As we celebrate June as National Dairy Month, the National Milk Producers Federation Tuesday is welcoming California Dairies Inc. into its membership, as the addition of the largest dairy cooperative in the biggest dairy-producing state significantly bolsters the strength of dairy producers in speaking with a unified voice on national and international issues of concern to farmers.

CDI produces 40 percent of California’s milk and about 8 percent of all milk in the U.S. By volume, it is the second-largest dairy cooperative in the United States.

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News

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