The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Farm groups want farm bill this year, but say little else

Thirteen general farm and commodity groups issued a statement today that Congress should pass a farm bill this year, but the blandness of the statement signals the groups have made no progress in overcoming their differences on what should be in the bill.

Representatives of the groups met in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss their perspectives on the new farm bill.

The proposal that congressional agriculture leaders sent to the failed supercommittee on deficit reduction included provisions to:

Eliminate the direct payments that crop producers get whether prices are high or low, to continue marketing loans
Give most crop producers the choice of a new program that would cover some of the losses that insurance does not cover or a program based on higher target prices, with a separate program for cotton.
Producer groups have disagreed over whether the higher target prices program is a good idea. The American Farm Bureau Federation, meanwhile, has developed its own proposal to cover catastrophic losses.

Following is the statement:

“Over the past two days, producer leaders have met to discuss policy priorities, to hear the perspectives of key policymakers and to work toward consensus on the future of U.S. farm policy. What was confirmed in our meeting is that we are committed to work together to come up with a viable farm policy.

“Also confirmed is our common belief that Congress should pass and the President should sign a strong new farm bill into law this year. The law expires at the end of this year and producers – like all job creators – need certainty from Washington.

“American agriculture has a solid record that we are proud of.

“The people we represent ensure that American consumers spend less of their paycheck at the grocery than anyone else in the world.

“American agriculture stands out as one of the few sectors of the economy that has, throughout the economic downturn, still contributed positively to our nation’s balance of trade while helping to create jobs and put this country back on its economic feet.

“And we have accomplished these things with a farm policy that also stands out as consistently under budget over the past 10 years and for leading the way on deficit reduction, contributing disproportionately and in some cases even alone in the effort to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.

“The economy is fragile, unemployment is high, and Americans are worried. Given the need for economic growth and deficit reduction, for our part we have offered to do more with less. If Washington provides America’s farmers and ranchers with some certainty, we can continue to help lead our nation’s economic recovery.”

The statement was signed by the following groups:
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • American Soybean Association
  • National Association of Wheat Growers
  • National Barley Growers Association
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Farmers Union
  • National Sorghum Producers
  • National Sunflower Association
  • Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
  • US Canola Association
  • USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
  • USA Rice Federation