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Commodity Groups Testify on Farm Bill Programs


Commodity groups told Congress Title 1 crop programs and crop insurance need tweaks in the next farm bill, while a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and robust trade policies are also key to farmers’ survival amid continued low crop prices.

Corn, Soybean, Wheat and other commodity groups told House Agriculture Committee lawmakers key Title 1 programs are working, but with some changes could work better in low-price conditions and also avoid county-to-county disparities. Crop insurance with quality-loss and prevented planting tweaks, will remain a bulwark safety net.

But the groups stressed that other programs, like the Renewable Fuel Standard, under attack by some in Congress, are also indispensable.

National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock…

“Last year, 4.2 billion of corn produced more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol, and returned more than 1 billion bushels of high quality feed back to the livestock industry.

Keeping the RFS on schedule provides more certainty, which leads to more demand for ethanol and corn.”         

American Soybean Association President Ron Moore is leading a push by ASA and 16 other farm groups to boost farm bill funding, but stick with existing programs…tape

“Crop insurance isn’t broken and it doesn’t need to be fixed.  Regarding Title I we encourage the committee improve and build upon current programs under the 2014 act, rather than build new ones.  We believe offering producers a choice between price-based PLC, and revenue based ARC programs, appropriately reflects differences between crops and regions, and that another choice should be offered only on a crop-by-crop and a farm-by-farm basis.”

…While continuing to use base acres and allow updating acres and yields…

“Finally, ASA Strongly supports keeping the agriculture and nutrition titles together in the farm bill.  The only groups pushing for them to be split into two bills are critics from outside the ag community who’s common goal is to defeat rather than pass a new farm bill.”                           

And then, there’s trade, which farm groups fear could be compromised in renegotiating the North American Free trade Agreement, if the administration succeeds in imposing a 20-percent tax on imports from Mexico. National Association of Wheat Growers President David Schemm…

“Within the wheat industry we have a huge concern over this, with over 50% of our wheat exported out of this country, this actually factors into a huge component of the price that our farmers are able to receive for their product.”
ASA’s Moore says his group wants the defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership to be used as a template for future bilateral deals with countries like Japan…while any modernizing of NAFTA is done without jeopardizing 20-years of gains for US farm exports.'

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.