After seven straight years of rural recession, compounded in recent years by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China, U.S. farmers and ranchers were already standing on a precipice. Now, without immediate action by Washington, the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may well push them over the edge.
It’s time for the federal government to step up and help farmers and ranchers when they need it most. Secretary Perdue announced on Friday a modest aid package that will bring some relief to the heartland. But we need to provide America’s farmers and ranchers with a comprehensive plan for assistance that ensures farmers and ranchers can continue to provide our nation with essential food and fuel supplies.
The government has rightly declared our farmers and ranchers essential workers and Congress is backing rural America with aid designed to help the economy during the pandemic. It’s a good step and one that will need to be revaluated as the true impact on farming and rural communities evolves. Now is the time to support our farmers and ranchers with strong farm policy.
From the farmer who plants the seed to the grocer who sells the produce, we applaud every single person who supports our food chain. Thank you for setting aside your own fears. For working hard days and long weeks. For feeding our families.
Protecting farm policy is key to supporting rural America’s efforts on sustainability. Farmers have to be able to earn a living and maintain economic stability in order to invest in sustainability. Farm policy provides a helping hand during the tough times and makes that possible.
Combined with the Farm Bureau’s analysis that Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies last year increased by nearly 20 percent over 2018 and projections that major commodity prices will remain low, things look outright dismal for farm country. In now its 7th year of recession, the rural economy is struggling. And farmers are feeling the pressure.
For much of rural America, 2019 was defined by hardship. Severe weather conditions and a farm economy in a seemingly endless recession left many farm families wondering how they would pay their bills. Thankfully, America’s farmers found some relief in the aid provided through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
This month, Groundwork spoke to Dr. John Newton, Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, and one of the foremost experts on farm economics to discuss rural America’s hopes for a prosperous new year.
Farmers across the heartland are scrambling to finish this year’s fall harvest before winter descends. That is, if they were even able to get their crops in the ground in the first place after historic flooding this spring.
Fair and reciprocal trade does more than ensure equitable treatment for the high-quality Made-in-America goods our farmers and ranchers produce. USMCA will spur even greater economic activity in our rural communities that often need it most.
As China continues to raise barriers blocking the import of American farm products, the USDA recently announced registration for the second round of Market Facilitation Payments (MFP). President Trump has authorized up to $14.5 billion in MFP payments, meant to help mitigate the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from ongoing trade disputes.
Trade has always been a vital part of farm income, and the importance of creating a level playing field for America’s farm and ranch families has only grown as the world population expands and demand for high-quality, home-grown American agriculture products rises.
Rural America is resilient. Our farmers will continue to work the land in hopes that the next season will bring renewed abundance. But they are also relying on Washington, DC to take decisive action to stand by U.S. farm families as we negotiate a quick end to ongoing trade disputes. Standing idle and allowing rural America to endure another farm crisis like the one we faced in the 1980s would set our economy back in incalculable ways. We must support our farmers through these challenging times, just as they support us every day.
The USDA quietly released a statistic in March that should alarm us all. More than seven dairy farms folded every day in 2018, and it’s easy to see why. America’s farmers and ranchers are in their 6th straight year of economic recession, with no end in sight.
Escalating debt-to-asset ratios reported by USDA last week and rising farm bankruptcies have spurred an increasing number of farm and ranch leaders to call for an extended Market Facilitation Program or congressionally enacted relief, whether in the form of a strengthened Farm Bill safety net or one-time legislative relief.
By this point, we are all exhausted by the endless rhetoric about America being a divided nation – a country of haves and have-nots. But, we think it’s important right now to explore this concept of division a little further. We’re not talking about partisan sniping. We’re talking about moisture and weather.
Selling more U.S. farm product overseas is the most important issue for farmers this time around – outranking even the war on terror, deficit reduction and healthcare. Not far behind on the list was passing the new Farm Bill, which was more important to farm voters than rural job creation, infrastructure improvements, immigration and lowering taxes.
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.
It’s been a lively Farm Bill season, with a slew of anti-farmer amendments going down in flames. But one of farm policy’s most vocal opponents has been conspicuously quiet…until now. The Environmental Working Group came roaring back this week with a new “study” that – true to form – breaks no new ground and is largely a recycling of old irrelevant data.
In our view, this kind of open, honest debate beats the sneaky subterfuge of some past farm bill debates where pernicious amendments to gut U.S. farm policy have masqueraded as “reforms” in order to confuse the debate. The Heritage Foundation has made it perfectly clear that it opposes any safety net whatsoever for America’s farmers or ranchers because Heritage denies any unique risks to farming and ranching.
A Farm Policy Facts writer was in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota yesterday, visiting with sugarbeet farmers who are planting this year’s crop. Farmers there are worried. Worried about the weather, which delayed planting. Worried about the markets, which have been slow to recover after Mexico illegally dumped subsidized surpluses here and…
How does the bill “modernize” sugar policy? It mandates that the U.S. Department of Agriculture invite heavily subsidized foreign imports into the U.S., artificially depressing farmer prices and rewarding bad actors abroad. Worse yet, the bill denies sugar producers the basic non-recourse loans available to other commodities, meaning failure to repay would result not just in the loss of crops pledged as collateral but in total bankruptcy.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal revealed a rarely-discussed phenomenon of farmers being forced to take second and even third jobs as they try to keep their family farms afloat.
America enjoys the most affordable, widely available food supply in the history of mankind for about one-quarter of 1% of the federal budget. That’s why it’s so odd that organizations dedicated to defending taxpayers spend so much time focused on gutting farm policy.
American agriculture will take center stage in the national discussion next week when President Trump addresses Farm Bureau members in Nashville, Tennessee.
Thank you the farmers of this nation who put food on our tables, conserve our landscape and make our economy hum.
Last week was busy for the anti-farm crowd in their quest to leave farmers with fewer tools to deal with depressed crop prices and weather disasters.
“No” appears to be the only message the EWG, Heritage, PIRG, Club for Growth, and other perennial farm policy opponents are capable of delivering.
A former 2016 presidential contender and one of the most conservative members of Congress wanted to make clear his support for American agriculture.
At the end of the day, the Agriculture Committees are the workhorses that get it done.
If the Trump administration’s first major budget plan became law, it most assuredly would harm our farmers, ranchers, and agricultural production.
Efforts to keep farmers farming during dark days are why a farm bill exists. We call it a farm bill for a reason. It all starts on the farm.
As Winston Churchill once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” These days, there are plenty of reasons for farmers and ranchers to be anxious and feel like they are going through a similar journey.
If we needed a reason for why a strong farm bill must be reauthorized without delay then this week provided one. Actually, this week provided 649,355 reasons.
As we begin 2017 with a new president, a new Congress, and soon a new, confirmed agriculture secretary, as well as an expiring farm bill, we wanted to make certain this message made it to Washington.
Farmers and ranchers have been dealing with “fake farm news” for years – not only from the mainstream media, but also from special interest groups.
“A lot of what Washington does is harmful to American agriculture. And, what good it does costs very little” writes former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest.
As the Secretary of Agriculture, during World War II, said time and time again: “Food will win the war and write the peace.” Or, translated for modern-day: “Hold the thin green line.”
With crop insurance’s popularity rising in rural America and on Capitol Hill, and with the policy’s budget outlays falling, we’re guessing one of its harshest critics, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is running out of believable critiques. So now it’s resorted to pure fiction.
Thank goodness we have lawmakers and officials in Washington who understand that free markets can’t exist in a world of bad actors. Thank goodness these lawmakers understand that we must not only stand up to these countries, but we must also maintain strong farm policy, in part, as a pragmatic and realistic response to those who refuse to play by the rules.