Commodity groups don’t always agree on the specifics they want or need in a farm bill. What’s best for corn is not always best for livestock, and what’s best for cotton is not always what grain farmers prefer.

But Southwest commodity spokesmen agree that they want a farm bill passed now, and that good crop insurance should be an integral part of it. Reece Langley, vice president, government affairs, USA Rice Federation; John Mages, president, Minnesota Corn Growers Association; Steve Pringle, legislative director, Texas Farm Bureau; Dee Vaughan, president, Southwest Council of Agribusiness; and Ross Wilson, president and CEO, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, expressed unique perspectives but many common concerns during a panel discussion at the inaugural Southwest Ag Issues Conference in Austin.

“Rice is a relatively small entity, but we still have a lot of differences within the industry,” Langley noted. Different types of rice and different markets “need different policies. We want choices, including traditional price protection and a shallow loss program—and good crop insurance.”

Crop insurance has “a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “The current bill proposals would help.”

Commodity organizations need to “respect the differences” between commodities, and “help to get a good farm bill.” He said the Farm Bill Now organization, currently pushing for rapid action on passing a new law, is supported by most commodity organizations.

Mages, located a bit north to be considered Southwest, says a partnership between Minnesota corn and the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, which is co-sponsor of the summit, “opens up new doors” for both organizations.