As Senate Prepares for Farm Bill Mark-Up, Farm Groups Speak Up
Eight prominent agricultural associations - the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association among them - have joined together to voice support for the Senate's approach to the 2012 Farm Bill. The groups also raised several issues related to commodity and risk management programs. In a letter to Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts - the groups state that crop insurance is the core risk management tool used by producers - and the current program should serve as the foundation for providing additional protection against loss. They advocate changes in the program to enhance its viability as a risk management tool while maintaining its effectiveness - but do not support alternatives that tie current-year production to fixed price supports.
In addition to crop insurance - the commodity groups are advocating for planting flexibility for farmers. The groups name their top policy priority for Title 1 as maintaining full planting flexibility and avoiding potential planting distortions so producers are encouraged to follow market signals. The concern comes from the anticipated elimination of direct payments and possible restructuring or elimination of the counter-cyclical program. They said any alternative program needs to be structured in a way that provides full planting flexibility and does not distort planting decisions.
The groups also advance their concept for a new program to complement the risk protection provided under crop insurance. They state support for an approach that partially compensates for current-year revenue losses on a crop-specific basis - and suggest the approach would have an insignificant impact on planting decisions.
Finally - the letter urges the Committee to oppose any changes in current law regarding payment limitations or eligibility for farm programs based on Adjusted Gross Income. According to the groups - 98-percent of U.S. producers participate in the farm program and comply with their conservation requirements. To maintain conservation compliance on agricultural lands - they say it's important farmers remain in the program.
The National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, U.S. Canola Association and USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council also signed the letter.
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