U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has asked crop insurance agencies to voluntarily forgo charging interest on insurance premiums for an extra 30 days to help farmers struggling because of the worst drought in 30 years.
The corn and soybean crops in Iowa have continued to struggle because of heat and lack of rain. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that in the 18 states with the highest corn production, 24 percent of the crop is rated as poor and 21 percent is rated as very poor. For soybeans, 22 percent of the crop is listed as poor and 13 percent is listed as very poor.
At the same time last year, less than 15 percent of the corn crop was listed as poor or very poor, according to the report.
The corn and soybean crop in Iowa actually fares better than the national average. Corn is listed as 26 percent poor and 14 percent very poor and soybeans are rated at 20 percent poor and 10 percent very poor.
Vilsack said in a release that he will encourage crop insurance companies to allow farmers an extra 30 days, until Nov. 1, to pay crop insurance premiums without accruing a 1.25 percent interest rate.
The USDA has also opened up acres under conservation reserve protection to be available for emergency haying and grazing use, according to a release.
"President Obama and I are committed to getting help to producers as soon as possible and sustaining the success of America's rural communities through these difficult times," Vilsack said in a release.