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.
As the 2018 Farm Bill debate plays out in Congress, farmers across the nation are getting in front of the camera to tell their stories with the hopes that lawmakers will understand just how important a strong farm policy is to rural America.
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 Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill in 2007 that would have gutted U.S. farm policy and put American jobs at risk, the outcry from the agricultural community was swift and fierce. A campaign backed by farmers quickly labeled their plan “Kinda Flakey” and highlighted the disastrous effects it would have on commodities and rural communities from coast to coast.
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…
Farmers in West Texas and other parts of the Great Plains would love to be busier planting right now, but they’re having to reconsider because the ground is so dry it could destroy the seeds.
It’s a busy time to be a farmer. Many are in their fields planting, or preparing to do so. They are literally “covering the ground” – cultivating roughly 300 million acres and preparing crops to be harvested in the fall to feed and clothe the world.
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.
The Farm Bill debate is officially underway with the House Agricultural Committee marking up H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, this week. Members of Congress have heard from growers and business owners over the last several months in listening sessions, during personal visits and in opinion pieces published in newspapers across the nation.
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.
Congress passed the first Farm Bill to help real Old MacDonalds who were struggling during the Great Depression. And lawmakers revisit the bill about every 5 years because, in contrast to the nursery rhyme, Old MacDonalds must constantly evolve with new tools, technologies and techniques to meet new challenges.
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.
Displays of bipartisanship are an increasingly rare sight in Washington these days, but when it comes to prioritizing the need for strong farm policies during difficult times, Agriculture Committee leadership appear to be on the same page.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, last week, released projections that farm incomes will continue to fall in 2018 and will hit their lowest point in the past dozen years.
Approximately 100 Hill staffers attended a pair of briefings this week that closely examined and debunked a number of farm policy criticisms leveled by the Heritage Foundation and other anti-farmer organizations.
According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2017 was the year of the “fire rooster,” which is also associated with the elements of gold and earth. It was fitting considering all the foreign farm subsidies that were doled out.
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.
President Ronald Reagan’s message to America’s struggling farmers in 1982 is a message worth remembering on its 35th anniversary.
October 13, 2017 Hurricane Harvey’s toll on the southeastern Texas cotton crop is still being tallied. An expert with Texas A&M says up to 400,000 bales of cotton were still on the stalk. That could force farmers to go through the time-consuming process of trying to harvest what’s salvageable, but knowing their crop’s value will be significantly…
Hurricane Harvey is a devastating reminder of the huge risks farmers take in growing the food and fiber needed to feed and clothe the world.
“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 new study by former USDA official Brandon Willis debunks The Heritage Foundation’s misleading narrative that there is no place for farm policy in America.
Leaders of the House Agriculture Committee want Congress to move fast on the new Farm Bill, and they will have the support of America’s largest farm groups.
Making sure America’s farmers and ranchers have the tools to compete on a global scale begins with a strong farm bill.
Policy experts are hopeful the momentum will continue, especially if Congress makes sound decisions regarding farm policy, which provides a foundation for the rural economy. But, there’s still a long way to go.
If the Trump administration’s first major budget plan became law, it most assuredly would harm our farmers, ranchers, and agricultural production.
We wish the Heritage Foundation and all opponents of farm policy would understand: there is no free market when it comes to agriculture.
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.
“No one saw this large and sustained drop coming,” explained Dr. Joe Outlaw of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.
With a new year on the horizon, Farm Policy Facts is taking a look back at some of the top stories of 2016.
What if we could truly open up foreign markets and create a level playing field for our farmers and ranchers that actually passes the smell test?
Farm Policy Facts is beginning a new series this month on its digital platforms called #FarmerPortraits.
Our nation’s farm families provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. A fact that is so true it has become a cliché.
When it comes to farming, it seems the critics always have the easy answer. They portray this line of work as if every day brings blue skies and no worries. The reality is the farming business comes with a fair share of challenges; chief among them is the unpredictability of weather and markets. Anything can and will happen.
The Heritage Foundation has long opposed U.S. farmers and ranchers having any kind of meaningful safety net to protect against weather disasters, volatile markets, and predatory trade practices abroad. So, the fact that they published a report suggesting the elimination of farm policy is not new or noteworthy.
Where would we be without our farmers? It’s a question we never want to have to answer.