USDA Results: Agriculture Production
At USDA, we know that there is no limit to the economic potential of rural America. Over the past eight years, we have worked to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports 1 in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials.
Helping Farmers and Ranchers Grow and Thrive
- Responded immediately to producers affected by disaster across the country, ranging from record storms and flooding, tornadoes, droughts and blizzards to help keep American agriculture profitable and keep farmers on the farm.
- While it took over one year after the 2008 Farm Bill was passed, disaster assistance programs were ready to go in under 10 weeks following the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill-80 percent faster than in 2008. Since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, these programs have paid producers over $69.1 billion dollars. In 2015, $6.3 billion was paid out to recover from natural disasters, including drought and wildfires, on just over 615,000 claims.
- Between 2009 and 2016, the Federal crop insurance program paid out more than $66.7 billion in indemnities so that farmers nationwide can continue to produce after suffering losses due to natural causes. During the historic 2012 drought, the Federal crop insurance program paid out over $17.5 billion in indemnities.
- Since passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) has paid over $429 million to producers for losses incurred.
- Provided more than 279,000 loans to agricultural producers with investment capital of nearly $40 billion to strengthen farming and ranching operations. Annual lending to underserved/socially disadvantaged producers increased dramatically, from $460.3 million in FY 2009 to $841.7 million in FY 2016, an 83% increase.
- The microloan program is an important access point to new, small or underserved farmers and ranchers. Since the program's inception in January 2013, USDA has issued nearly 22,000 microloans (almost 6,900 in FY 2016 alone). Seventy percent of these loans have gone to beginning farmers.
- Since 2009, issued 213,557 loan deficiency payments totaling over $641 million to eligible producers when the market price for specific commodities fell below its respective county loan rate. In addition, 381,089 commodity and marketing assistance loans (MAL) were disbursed totaling over $41.7 billion. MALS provide eligible producers interim financing after harvest to meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvesting-time lows and facilitating more orderly marketing of commodities throughout the year.
- Provided financing for on-farm storage and handling for over 1 billion bushels of eligible commodities and disbursed over $2.2 billion to more than 39,000 eligible producers through the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) Program since 2000. In 2016, USDA expanded the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) to include financing for new and used eligible equipment and facilities, including portable storage facilities and storage handling trucks. In addition, a new loan FSFL loan category was added for producers with an aggregate loan balance of $50,000, simplifying the loan application process.
- Expanded programs are increasing options for producers. WFRP increased by approximately 26 percent with more than $1.1 billion in liabilities, nearly double that of the program WFRP replaced in 2014.
- USDA eliminated the historical 5 percent surcharge on organic policy premiums for all crops, added more crops with organic price elections, and added a contract price option.
- In 2011, for the first time ever, USDA began offering crop insurance for organic producers that reflects organic market prices. Organic price elections have expanded from four crops, which were first offered in 2011, to 57 crops in 2016. Also for 2016, producers transitioning to certified organic production can now use the Contract Price Addendum to cover their crops at a higher price than traditional crops.
- Organic price elections for certain citrus crops in Arizona and California will be available for the 2017 crop year.
- SCO will increase from seven crops offered in 2015 to 59 crops beginning with 2016 crop year.
- STAX is available in all counties where Federal crop insurance coverage for upland cotton is offered. And with written agreements being allowed in 2016, coverage is nearly 100 percent. STAX is also allowing coverage on cottonseed for the 2016 crop year.
- USDA estimates 1,241 new and beginning farmer first-time applicants enrolled in NAP in 2015. To date, there are 2,160 new and beginning farmer first-time applicants enrolled in NAP for 2016.
Providing Educational Tools for Farmers and Ranchers
- Awarded $3 million to universities to develop online tools, which started going live in late summer 2014, to help producers determine how best to protect their farm business through program options like Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) for crop insurance, Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), and Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).
- Engaged in cooperative agreements with 55 partners to educate farmers and other producers that have been underserved by USDA programs historically to provide financial, disaster or technical support. Nearly $2.5 million is going to nonprofits, associations, universities, and foundations that will provide training and information on agricultural best practices, local networking opportunities and more.
- FSA provided a Crop Production Ledger as an optional recordkeeping tool for producers participating in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
Streamlining Assistance and Saving Taxpayer Dollars
- Created a consistent, simple and flexible policy for cover crops across USDA agencies that ensures today's farmers can benefit from sound erosion control and the farm safety net.
- Established 15 common dates for farmers and ranchers to report acreage and crop data, reducing burdensome paperwork on producers and costs to USDA. There had previously been more than 70 reporting dates.
Boosting Competiveness through Better Research and Improved Technology
- Conducted research on drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and saline-resistant crops that will enhance the competitiveness of American farmers in global trade.
- In FY 2017, a portion of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative will focus on technological and strategic solutions to critical water problems in food production systems, and will address the social and economic barriers for adoption of water conservation technologies and practices.
- Conducted research that is helping to improve the technology associated with irrigation equipment to reduce spills and help manage limited water resources more effectively. By developing new software and more robust forecasting models, USDA research will help producers better manage water resources in the future.