National Briefs: Farm Aid reaches out to hurricane victims

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Farm Aid emergency fund aid hurricane victims

In early September, Farm Aid activated its Family Farm Disaster Fund to provide aid to organizations helping family farmers affected by Hurricane Harvey, and later expanded to include those affected by Hurricane Irma.  

Since activation of the Family Farm Disaster Fund following Hurricane Harvey, Farm Aid has raised more than $82,000. The organization is also working with partners in disaster-affected areas to determine the long-term needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.


ND farmer is president of national corn group

A North Dakota farmer has taken the reins of the National Corn Growers Association.
Arthur farmer Kevin Skunes began serving as the group's president on Oct. 1. He'll hold the position for a year.

Skunes says top priorities over the coming year include trade agreements and the 2018 farm bill.

Skunes is the third North Dakota farmer to lead the national corn group. Bart Schott of Kulm and Wallie Hardie of Fairmount previously served in the role.


Illinois pumpkin crops makes healthy return

Ag experts say pumpkin crops in central Illinois are still recovering, but improving two years after heavy rain decimated area yields.

Jim Ackerman, an agriculture manager at the Nestle-owned Libby's plant in Morton, said the 2017 crop of pumpkins has improved from last year and is looking a little better than average.

Last year, the crop returned to healthy status with average to above average yields of 22 to 23 tons per acre on the roughly 8,000 acres where Libby's sources its main ingredient.

Pumpkin vines were drowned by heavy rains in June 2015 during a critical stage of development that led to a widespread pumpkin shortage.


Paper explores options for farm risk management 

The Center for Rural Affairs today released “New option for farm risk management: Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) usage in Nebraska,” a report by Anna Johnson and Glen Ready, with support from Cora Fox, all Center for Rural Affairs Policy Program staff.  

The authors take a look at WFRP, a crop insurance product designed to expand coverage for farmers and ranchers. 

“Crop insurance has stepped into the spotlight as the highest costing federal farm program, at about $8 billion a year,” Johnson said. “Despite the size of the program, crop insurance has not been available for many types of crops. And, often, coverage is available only on a regional basis.” 

Crop insurance options insure either the expected yield or expected revenue of a particular crop. WFRP insures the revenue of the entire operation, based on revenue history. 

“This insurance option would provide farmers and ranchers with coverage for not only corn and soybeans, but also less common crops such as pumpkins, berries, and even some livestock,” Johnson said. “Because WFRP is a revenue product, farmers can file a claim only if their overall revenue for the year is lower than expected.” 

To view a copy of the report visit


Luke Bryan to celebrate farmers

Country music superstar Luke Bryan is no stranger to celebrating America's hard-working farmers. At this year's Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour, tour sponsor Bayer will join him in toasting U.S. farmers with its "Here's To The Farmer" campaign. 

Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, launched his annual Farm Tour in 2009 as a way to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America's farmers. The Here's To The Farmer campaign asks fans to share #HeresToTheFarmer online to show their gratitude to America's farmers.

For every share, Bayer will donate a meal* to someone in need through Feeding America®.  In 2016, Bayer and Bryan donated 500,000 meals. This year's goal is 1 million meals.

Bayer's Here's To The Farmer campaign will also help tackle hunger locally by donating more than $10,000 to area food banks.


NYFC to create online platform for young farmers

As the result of receiving a $250,000 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) award from the USDA, the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) is launching a two-year initiative to develop an innovative online platform that that will modernize the way farmers do business directly with their customers.

With USDA’s support, NYFC will start to build the first farmer-owned online sales platform. The organization's goal is to make local food more accessible to consumers, and direct sales more profitable for farmers.

The software will help direct-market farmers to meet their most critical business needs, and effectively manage sales and customer communication across direct outlets. 


RFD-TV now in HD 

DIRECTV has launched RFD HD, the high definition feed for RFD-TV, to all of DIRECTV's 18,000,000+ satellite customers effective immediately. The system-wide distribution makes the rural lifestyle network's HD feed available now to nearly all of the over 52 million homes reached by RFD-TV on DIRECTV channel 345. 

Company officials expect the addition to result in a spike in RFD-TV's ratings for all of rural lifestyle programming, while assisting our ongoing efforts to reconnect city with country again.