Monday, April 28, 2014

How will the New Farm Bill Affect Crop Insurance Coverage?

By Nichole Gouldie, Communications Specialist

After two years, the 2014 Farm Bill became a law on February 7. Also known as the Agricultural Act of 2014, the law is wide ranging but a common question on many farmers’ minds is how the new Farm Bill will affect their crop insurance coverage.

Recently, Team Marketing Alliance (TMA) hosted informational meetings for producers about how the farm bill actually affects the farm. With guest speaker, Kane Adams, regional marketing manager for Diversified Crop Insurance Services, TMA shared how they have the tools to help producers make an educated decision related to crop insurance included in the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Like TMA always does, they will work from your farm's history to determine your crop insurance needs,” Adams said. “It isn’t a one-size fits all approach.”

Effective for 2014, direct payments, the counter-cyclical payment program, ACRE program and the Sure Crop Disaster program will be eliminated.

“The 2014 Farm Bill’s commodity title requires producers to make an important decision related to crop insurance, whether to sign-up for one of two versions of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program,” Adams said.

The decision is made for each farm enrolled with the Farm Service Agency. The choice of program is a one-time decision to be made by a deadline not set currently. Adams estimates this sign-up not to be until late fall-winter or early 2015.  “The decision cannot be changed during the five-year life of the 2014 Farm Bill”, Adams said. “This is why it is very important for all TMA customers to work with their crop insurance specialist to make an educated decision about the two programs that is best for their operation.”

For producers just now learning about these crop insurance coverage options, TMA Crop Insurance Specialist Danny Flynn says the positive is you don’t have to make a decision today about the programs. “We have some time to make the decision and TMA has the tools and knowledge to help you make this decision.”

To learn specifically about the ARC and PLC programs, click here.

Kane noted while federal crop insurance saw an increase in the budget of $6 billion, most areas of the farm bill were cut in dollars. The budget was reduced by $23 billion total with cuts of $9 billion in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commodity programs reduced by $14 billion and conservation lost $4 billion. He also commented food stamps and nutrition are nearly 80 percent of the 2014 budget.

Josh Roe, economist with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, has shared an overview of the 2014 Farm Bill and some of the impacts the bill will have. Click here for a fact sheet about the 2014 Farm Bill and here for a summary and impact of the bill put together by Josh Roe.

To learn more about crop insurance coverage or the 2014 Farm Bill, contact a TMA crop insurance specialist today.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Scholarship Recipients Announced

MKC is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 scholarship program. Ten
area high school seniors and eight college students have been selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Since 2008, a total of $45,000 has been awarded through MKC’s scholarship program.

More than 100 high school students and nearly 40 college students submitted applications. "The number of applications made the selection process difficult," said Nichole Gouldie, communications specialist for MKC. "By helping our local students pursue their educational goals, we are investing in their future, as well as the future of our local communities."

This year’s scholarship program was the first year to include a college-level age group. In addition, the dollar amount to high school seniors was increased from $500 to $1,000.

Scholarship recipients were selected based on academic achievements, honors, leadership, and school and community activities. Along with the application, students were asked to submit an essay addressing the value of the cooperative system.

High school students awarded scholarships are: Jacob Dailey, Canton-Galva High School; Justin Schmutz, Ell-Saline High School; Reece Hiebert, Goessel High School; Kristen Knackstedt, Inman High School; Trevor Smyres, Little River High School; Nicholas Meyer, Marion High School; Greg Schlickau, Pretty Prairie High School; Anneliese Reinert, Smoky Valley High School; Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline High School; and Savannah Sherwood, Southeast of Saline High School

College students awarded scholarships are: Nick Wineinger, Kansas State University; Austin Hiebert, McPherson College; Luke Snider, Kansas State University; Kristine Larson, Kansas State University; Spencer Yenni, Hutchinson Community College; Melissa Woeppel, Bethany College; McKayla Brubaker, Kansas State University; and Ashley Murrell, Elementary Education.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

MKC Employees Host Third Annual Food Drive

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

The statistics for food insecure homes in Kansas are staggering. According to a study released March 31, 2014 by the Kansas Food Bank and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, the food budget needed by families struggling with hunger in Kansas each year is an estimated $164,968,840.

Throughout the month of April, MKC employees are joining together to help fill the shelves of area food banks through their third annual food drive, "Together We Can Fight Hunger".

"We know supplies for area food banks can be stressed during the summer," said Adam McDaniel, member of the MKC Community Involvement Committee. "Through a collective effort, we can make a meaningful difference for so many families in our area."

Last year, MKC employees collected 12,403 pounds of food and donated $15,000 to nine food banks throughout central Kansas. "Our goal for this year is to collect 15,000 pounds," McDaniel said.

MKC employees invite the public to join them in their food drive by dropping off non-perishable food items at any MKC location by April 30. Together we can fight hunger in our communities!