California Rice Estimates Down and Specialty Crop Relief
**According to USDA estimates, California rice acreage this year will drop to its lowest level since the 1983-84 growing season.
The predicted 348,000 acres of rice plantings for 2022 represent a sharp decline from 407,000 last year and 517,000 in 2020, as California experiences sustained drought and water shortages.
Rice farmers fallowing ground say crop insurance will help, but they worry about long-term impacts for farming.
**The USDA announced commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 21 will soon receive emergency relief payments totaling about $6 billion.
The funds come from the Farm Service Agency's new Emergency Relief Program to offset crop yield and value losses.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "These emergency relief payments will help offset the significant crop losses due to major weather events and help ensure farming operations are viable this crop year.
More details, including eligibility, are online at www.fsa.usda.gov
**President Biden has announced measures for U.S. farmers in the wake of the Russia/Ukraine war.
The administration is seeking to expand insurance for double cropping to as many as 681 additional counties, bringing the total number where this qualifies for crop insurance to as many as 1,935 counties.
Another measure would cut costs for farmers by increasing assistance for technology-driven precision ag and other nutrient management tools.
The third would double funding for domestic fertilizer production.