As the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the 2018 farm bill on Wednesday, a great cheer rose from farms and ranches across America. Maybe they couldn’t hear it inside the House chamber, but here in farm country, the sound was deafening. It was the early Christmas gift farmers had hoped for and Congress delivered just in time.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump and his trade team announced a modernized trade pact with Mexico and Canada, and most of agriculture cheered. But it was a comment about another country during the White House press conference that really caught our attention. India is “the tariff king,” the President said. “India charges tariffs of 100 percent … that’s not free trade.”
America’s struggling farm economy is heading for even bigger declines, according to recent surveys, and the nation’s top bankers say manufacturers should expect a major drop in sales of new equipment. Inflation-adjusted net farm income, which is a broad measure of profits, is expected to be down by $11.4 billion, or nearly 15 percent, this year compared to 2017, according to USDA’s August Farm Income Forecast.
August is typically a down time in DC, but that has not been the case this year. Among other things, lots of work was being done on the Farm Bill.
Summer is just about over, and Labor Day on the horizon signals that harvest is near. That means, it’s time to go to work. Farmers are watching Washington, D.C. as lawmakers return to finish some important Farm Bill business.
Following a relatively smooth markup in the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Farm Bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration, and congressional leaders intend to have debate wrapped up before Independence Day.
When the Senate overwhelmingly passed its Farm Bill – just days after the House did the same – applause from the agricultural community was swift and loud. The bill, once reconciled in conference, will provide some economic certainty and help mitigate farm risk.
Wheat is complex and studying the plant is slower than the work required for others. But, U.S wheat must remain high quality and that takes research.
Understanding what foreign buyers and end users want is where the government programs are helpful. But the programs have taken deep cuts over the years.
For Musick, crop insurance is one of the most important parts of the Farm Bill and it’s one that he advocates for every time he gets a chance.
Conservation is an important part of the business calculation on any farm, and the upcoming Farm Bill is an opportunity to make improvements to help farmers.
“It underscores why wheat farmers see crop insurance as a top priority…”