Illinois Farm Bureau leaders also asked RMA and congressional offices to delay the due date while in Washington, D.C. last month.
By Joanie Stiers
U.S. representatives have joined the Illinois Farm Bureau in urging the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) to delay the crop insurance premium due date to help farmers manage financials this fall.
A formal letter signed by 14 of 18 Illinois congressional representatives asks RMA Administrator Martin Barbre to delay the deadline for paying crop insurance premiums for spring-planted crops from Oct. 1 to at least Dec. 1.
The letter cites this year’s significant planting delays, expected production losses and the anticipated late harvest that will strain cash flow for Illinois farmers.
“We are reviewing all options to help relieve producers impacted by flooding and excess moisture,” said Kaveh Sadeghzadeh, USDA deputy director of communications.
U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, led the effort to obtain signatures, showing urban-rural unity for a matter that also crosses party lines.
“While my district includes part of the city of Chicago, I’m proud to represent more than 1,200 farms in Will and Kankakee counties,” Kelly said. “It’s no secret that family farmers in Illinois are struggling. The weather isn’t cooperating, commodity prices remain low and the failed Trump trade war has crippled access to international markets, especially China. This slight delay will give farmers more space and time to make their payments without endangering their financial stability.”
Delaying the due date was a direct IFB ask to RMA and every congressional office that IFB directors visited during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy Fly-In to Washington, D.C., June 10-11. Illinois’ members of Congress responded with timely support, sending RMA the letter ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
"The congressional letter to RMA demonstrates a clear recognition among our elected officials that this is an unusually stressful time for Illinois farmers, which coincides with a time of great policy and financial uncertainty,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB director of national legislation. “We’re grateful for the leadership of Reps. Kelly and Bost and for each of the representatives who joined us in asking for the extension.”
Related: Read coverage from IFB's trip to Washington last month at this link.