The National Farmers Union has unveiled a study by the University of Tennessee on policy options for the 2012 farm bill, including possibilities to help stabilize volatile food prices.

“In today’s economic environment, it is very likely that agriculture’s budget will be cut for the next farm bill,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This study looks at possible ways to help reduce the budget for farm programs but still provide the same level of protection to farmers and ranchers during their times of need. Using a farmer-owned reserve and other tools, Dr. Daryll Ray and his team at the University of Tennessee Agricultural Policy Analysis Center have found that it is possible to provide a strong safety net to farmers and ranchers while significantly reducing the cost to taxpayers.”

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also at the unveiling of the study to discuss the 2012 farm bill.

“Dr. Ray found that, if we had adopted this approach over the last 13 years (1998-2010), the value of U.S. exports would have been nearly $5 billion more than it actually was,” said Johnson. “Corn prices would have been $0.26 higher than they actually were, wheat prices would have been $0.48 higher, and soybeans would have averaged $1.09 more over the period studied. The farmer-owned reserve acts to moderate highs and lows of grain prices, and during the period studied, farmers would have gained more income from market receipts and relied less on government payments, which would have been reduced by more than half.”