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.

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