Federal disaster declaration needed, Sen. Brown tells Oak Harbor farmers

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited a farm in Oak Harbor On Sunday to hear from northwest Ohio farmers as they struggle with record rainfall and flooding, leading to delays in planting or decisions not to plant at all. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, due to excessive rainfall, flooding, and oversaturated fields, this has been the worst planting season since it started tracking planting progress in the late 1970s.

“Farming is one of the most important industries to our state, and a good farming season is dependent on so many different things going right. This year, farmers have unfortunately faced record amount of rain and flooding that make planting nearly impossible,” said Brown. “Secretary Perdue and USDA need to do the right thing, issue a disaster declaration and get these farmers the financial assistance they need.”

Farmer Ron Laubacher told Sen. Brown “this planting season is the worst I’ve ever seen. On top of bad weather, interest rates are up and crop insurance isn’t going to cover our losses. It’s critical that USDA approve the disaster declaration to get farmers the help we need to stay afloat and take care of our families,”

In June, Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to declare an U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster designation to help Ohio farmers suffering because of extreme rainfall and flooding. With a USDA disaster declaration, Ohio farmers would receive the financial assistance they need as they continue to work through a difficult planting season.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as of June 24, only 80% of Ohio’s corn and 65% of Ohio’s soybeans have been planted, compared to this time last year when Ohio corn and soybean planting rates were at 100% and 99%, respectively.

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