The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s disaster assistance programs will travel to North Dakota next week to inspect the state’s farmland and see how excessive moisture and wet weather this spring and summer has impacted crops.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced Tuesday that USDA’s acting under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Michael Scuse, will travel to North Dakota on Aug. 9.
In a written statement, Conrad said major flooding this year has had a “devastating impact” across the state.
“The unprecedented rainfall that caused flooding also left millions of acres unplanted, and much of acreage that was planted has been subsequently flooded, causing additional damage,” he wrote. “This will have a significant impact on North Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers for weeks and months to come.”
Scuse oversees the USDA’s crop insurance and ag disaster programs. Conrad said it’s important for him to see “first hand” how the state’s wet conditions have impacted farming this year.
North Dakota State University’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics recently estimated the state’s farmers have seen a direct financial impact of $1.1 billion because of flooding and heavy rains this year. That figure represents a loss in total revenue, not net farm profit, based on the number of acres that were not planted this year at the market value of the crops that would have been produced on wet acreage.
Conrad is a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and one of the key authors of the 2008 Farm Bill.