Farm Bureau Supports Proposed Safety Net Fix

 

Legislation introduced by Senators Heidi Hietkamp and Joni Ernst would make changes to the Agricultural Risk Coverage program. AFBF and other farm groups penned a letter to the Senators this week expressing support for the bill. AFBF congressional relations director Mary Kay Thatcher says the bill would change the program to better serve farmer’s needs…

“The three things that are covered in this bill, we believe, provide us a really good opportunity to fix some things that we’ve heard a lot about.  Farmers talk a lot about the discrepancy in payments between counties.  And also about the kind of data that was being used.  I think using the Risk Management Agency, the crop insurance data, is the first choice, rather than using NASS data.”             

The bill would also require USDA to calculate safety net payments based on a farm’s physical location. The changes should help ensure farmers a strong safety net moving forward…

“It’s important to have a safety net when farmers are having to deal with difficult times, certainly we’re dealing with an economy around the world that’s not doing all that great.  So, we need to make sure there’s a safety net there for farmers.”     

Committee markup of the next farm bill may start soon, but the bulk of the farm bill work isn’t likely until early next year. Thatcher says the budget is very limited…

“We have 37 programs that are funded now that won’t be funded.  We need to worry about how we can get some of those back into the program.  So, we’re going to have to be as efficient as we can with money to try to get a well-rounded bill that we can pass through the House and the Senate and have the president sign.”                

AFBF congressional relations director Mary Kay Thatcher.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

One comment on “Farm Bureau Supports Proposed Safety Net Fix
  1. Joshua Sewell says:

    Agricultural businesses already have a very generous safety net: federally subsidized crop insurance. Taxpayers have forked over $59 billion in crop insurance premium subsidies over just the last 10 years. While producers contributed $37 billion over this period, they received $82 billion in loss claims. So for the program as a whole, every dollar producers paid in premium resulted in $2.21 in indemnities.

    With crop insurance so prevalent and popular it begs the question why layer Title 1 “shallow loss” programs on top? Especially since they are $18 billion more expensive than originally projected. In the next farm bill lawmakers should focus on reforming crop insurance into a more cost-effective, transparent safety net responsive to current needs and scrap “shallow loss” programs all together.

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