What is in this article?:
- 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.
Crop insurance crucial
Minnesota corn growers want “choices in a new farm bill. And we would like to get it done this year.” He agrees crop insurance needs to be an integral part of any new policy. “It’s such a big safety net.”
Minnesota has “been fortunate to get rain this year,” but Mages noted that much of the Midwest corn crop has been devastated by drought.
He supports ethanol. “We have a long history of biofuels in Minnesota. It has been a boost for our rural economies. More than 40 percent of our corn is exported out of the state.”
Water quality, more than quantity, is an issue for Minnesota farmers, he said. The industry is working on water quality research to develop science-based numbers for runoff that “may differ from EPA.”
Texas Farm Bureau “wants to get a farm bill passed,” says Pringle. “We want a five-year bill this year, but we recognize that we will need an extension of the current law for at least a year while they write regulations for a new one. We are not interested in going through this process again next year.”
Vaughan said the concept of price protection is at risk with new policy. “The 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act included price protection because of the market loss after World War I and the ongoing economic chaos (Great Depression). We kept price protection until 1996 when we got the Freedom to Farm Act, which a lot of folks referred to as ‘Freedom to Fail.’”
Conditions now may be similar to 1996 with the high commodity prices and budget hawks. “We have a massive deficit and incentives to cut budgets.” High commodity prices, he said, may tempt legislators to assume that those prices will be sustained. “We hear complaints about the need for a farm bill and price protection.”