Ag News: USDA Crop Insurance Updates & Rural Broadband Funding
**The USDA announced updates to crop insurance, in response to the needs of farmers, including organic producers, AND to support conservation of natural resources on ag land.
USDA's Risk Management Agency is making permanent a new provision allowing producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops and still receive a full prevented planting payment.
RMA is also increasing flexibility related to the prevented planting "1 in 4" requirement and aligning crop insurance definitions with USDA's National Organic Program.
**The USDA is accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to help rural residents get access to high-speed internet.
The announcement comes after the recently approved Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earmarked another $2 billion in additional funding for the ReConnect Program.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says, high-speed internet is the new electricity. It must be reliable, affordable, and available to everyone.
**Agricultural lending at commercial banks continues to decline but showed some signs of stabilizing in the third quarter.
Data reported by the Kansas City Federal Reserve shows farm debt decreased at the slowest pace in two years.
Non-real estate debt declined substantially slower than in recent quarters, and farm real estate loans increased slightly for the first time since mid-2019.
Performance on agricultural loans also continued to improve, leading to a five-year low in delinquency rates.