AFBF Sees Lots to Like in Farm Bill Draft, But Room for Improvement
While the American Farm Bureau Federation sees room for adjustments to improve the Senate Agriculture Committee's draft farm bill - numerous provisions follow the group's core principles for rational, acceptable farm policy. That's the message delivered by Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman in a letter to the Committee's leaders. The letter urges the committee to approve the draft as a vehicle to move the farm bill to the Senate floor in a timely manner. But while Stallman says the importance of completing a farm bill cannot be overstated - he adds that Farm Bureau will seek opportunities to make adjustments and refinements to improve the legislation.
Stallman's letter specifically outlines Farm Bureau's support for several points included in the measure - including the decision to stand firm on utilizing the figure of 23-billion dollars in savings suggested to the Super Committee last fall; the protection and strengthening of the federal crop insurance program without reducing funding; that programs are not based on cost of production; and that it includes a commodity title that attempts to encourage producers to follow market signals. Among other things - Farm Bureau also supports the elimination of direct payments, countercyclical payments, the Average Crop Revenue Election program and the SURE program; maintaining the current marketing loan program; eliminating the dairy price support program and the Milk Income Loss Contract program.
The letter also states that the organization continues to support a single program option for the commodity title that is extended to all crops - and has concerns about the need for improved equity across all commodities. Farm Bureau also intends to continue working toward provisions for a financial safety net that includes a catastrophic revenue loss program based on county level losses with coverage at 80-percent of revenue levels.
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