As President George W. Bush once said, “A nation that can feed its people is a nation more secure.” But, the reality is, the more we chip away at the investment in our national food and fiber supply, the more vulnerable we become.
If my family had kept the farm, I would have been a fourth-generation farmer of a grain operation. But they couldn’t.
Rural America Reminds Lawmakers to Keep Their Promise to Protect Crop Insurance from Cuts in Spending Bill
“It ain’t over till it’s over,” said the great Yogi Berra. He was referring to the New York Mets’ season in 1973, but the sentiment could easily describe the fight to stave off cuts to federal crop insurance this year.
Rather than stack the deck against agriculture, let’s ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to feed the world.
The United States should stop trying to balance its budget on the backs of farmers. It is bad policy, and there’s no room for further reductions.
The Farm Bill is needed now more than ever, and no thinly veiled plot by anti-farmer forces to pry open the Farm Bill is acceptable. An attack on one farmer’s policy is an attack upon all as far as we are concerned.
“Agriculture, as a whole, rose up and said enough is enough,” said Steve Verett, the Executive Vice President of the Plains Cotton Growers.
As Congress prepares to vote on a budget agreement that includes cuts to a key component of the farm safety net, Larry Combest, the former chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Select Committee on Intelligence, makes clear to lawmakers what is at stake if it comes to pass.
Without any consultation with America’s farmers, or apparently even elected leaders from rural America, a handful of lawmakers fast-tracked a new budget proposal that would decimate crop insurance.
The full-scale reality of what American farmers are up against when it comes to competing with foreign treasuries rather than foreign farmers was the topic of a hearing at the House Committee on Agriculture this week.
“2011 was a game changer. It altered the lives of all of us in production agriculture,” explained Rick Kellison, the project director of the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC), during a farm tour near Lubbock, Texas where the Southwest Council of Agribusiness (SWCA) convened its annual meeting last week.
The next few years very well may be defining for the future outlook of agriculture. And the whole world has a lot riding on the outcome.
Protecting our farms is good economic policy and it is critical to the health and safety of our nation. As the proud representative of the First District of Michigan, I will do everything I can to ensure that my farmers have a voice in the decisions made in Washington.
The importance of crop insurance to meet the needs of a growing world population took center stage this week in Kansas City as agricultural leaders from more than 30 countries gathered for the International Association of Agricultural Production Insurers (AIAG) to learn more about the American system.
As a fourth generation Mississippi farmer, I grew up knowing that I worked in a field full of risks. When the weather cooperates, prices dive. When prices are great, foreign markets collapse, sending prices into a sudden nosedive. It’s always something. However, it wasn’t until I actually set out on my own in farming in 2011 that I fully understood just how financially exposed farmers are when they put a crop in the ground.
American wheat farmers lose close to $1 billion in revenue each year because certain countries are violating trade rules under the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, according to a new study.
USDA forecasts that when all is said and done, American farmers will have a combined farm income that is less than half of what it was just two years ago. This alone is staggering. But it may well mark just the beginning of a depressed farm economy the effects of which may very well adversely impact the entire sector and cascade across other sectors of our economy.
It’s bizarre that groups claiming to carry President Reagan’s mantel, such as Heritage Action, have targeted U.S. farm policy for elimination.
“Heritage Action and groups like it had better get serious because they are losing credibility fast and they are damaging the conservative cause.”
If ever we lose the hard-working independent family farms that take care of the nation’s landscape while producing a diverse set of crops more reliably and efficiently than any farm sector in history, then, and only then will we truly understand the value they provide.
Nearly a decade ago, the World Trade Organization found the European Union guilty of violating trade rules. Since that ruling, the EU has implemented radical changes to its sugar policy. But, will those changes help further free trade and lead to a subsidy-free system as some in the EU are claiming?
Whether you’re a peach grower in South Carolina like me or a corn farmer in Iowa or a cherry grower in Michigan or a cotton farmer in Texas, crop insurance is designed to cover you when disasters strike. And the more farmers buying policies, the better we all are in the long run because that spreads the risk.
“The group claims it wants to measure farmers’ attitudes on crop insurance, but instead of asking unprejudiced questions, it simply requests farmers to back its inaccurate representation of crop insurance.”
Lawmakers should oppose any effort to undermine the farm safety net for any crop during the appropriations process. Congress has already held this debate, and rural Americans have made long-term business decisions based on the bill approved in 2014. To introduce uncertainty into the marketplace so soon thereafter would simply be irresponsible.
Unilateral disarmament will do nothing to help U.S. consumers or a U.S. economy that depends on a thriving agricultural sector. It will only reward China and other bad actors, while leaving hardworking American farmers powerless the next time storm clouds gather.
We cannot afford any animosity within our own ranks. It is fodder for our foes. It is an excuse for policymakers to cut up what remains of the farm safety net. It is a deterrent for recruiting the next generation of leaders on Capitol Hill and beyond.
Despite what farm policy critics would have you believe, farm policy is anything but a handout for farmers. In fact, newly released data from the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) demonstrates that farmers are taking care of their own and in the process reducing the cost to the federal government.
Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm bill’s safety net and our job now is to make sure we don’t do anything to mess it up.
This recent headline says it all. The diversity of American agricultural production coupled with the varied growing conditions across the country and the swings in weather explains why farmers need a safety net. More importantly, it describes why crop insurance is the centerpiece of the farm safety net.
And a new study commissioned by U.S. sugar producers sheds light on the intricate web of Thai subsidies.
Farmers face a lot of risks the rest of us don’t. And given the capital requirements of farming today, each of these risks has big financial consequences.
The headline in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial read: “Paying for ethanol at the pump and on the plate.” It caught our eye for the fact that it doesn’t even pass the commonsense test. Gas prices are way down and projected to stay that way. So, too, are corn prices.
A financially healthy rural economy requires a financially healthy farm production sector. And that sector relies on a safety net when catastrophic events happen. It is a modest investment considering the return, which is a stable and affordable national food and fiber supply.
We have a strong foundation for cultivating the next generation of farmers in the 2014 Farm Bill, but the law needs to be fully implemented for any of this to matter. Although it is on the books for five years, it is likely to be under attack during the annual appropriations process.
Crop insurance products were improved in the recent farm bill because Congress recognized that these products are a necessity for farmers regardless of size. To me, a federally-supported crop insurance policy is defensible because a portion of the product’s cost is borne by the farmer.
In the midst of the spring planting season, a couple of farmers took to the opinion pages over the weekend to explain the importance of their primary risk management tool: crop insurance.
Some stereotypes about U.S. farm policy just won’t die. For example, the belief that farmers get paid for not growing; or that benefits just go to big agribusinesses; or that farm spending is out of control. Such criticisms make splashy headlines but are no longer relevant thanks to the significant evolution of farm policy over the past 20 years
“EWG has no credibility.” Farm Policy Facts has been saying this for years about the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and it looks like quite a few Capitol Hill leaders agree. The direct quote came from House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who spoke last week to The Hagstrom Report. Peterson was not alone in giving EWG a congressional smack down.
Maintaining a modest response to the cheaters by preserving U.S. farm policy is not only the right thing to do, it is also an essential means of maintaining support for trade and the only leverage the United States has in getting our trading partners to one day tear down the walls they have been so busy building.
There’s a reason the 2014 Farm Bill made crop insurance the centerpiece of U.S. farm policy. It is an effective risk management tool for not only farmers, but also taxpayers.