Farmers in every state rely in some way on the economic safety net provided in the 2008 farm bill, the American Farm Bureau Federation told a House Agriculture subcommittee yesterday. Which farm bill programs are judged most beneficial, however, depends largely on a farmer’s crop and region, according to Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson, who testified on behalf of AFBF.
“While our farmers are generally supportive of the safety net provided in the 2008 farm bill, it can sometimes feel like you’re reading the old children’s story ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ when you talk to individual farmers about their experiences with farm programs," Nelson testified. “Some farmers think the safety net coverage provided under the 2008 farm bill is ‘just right’. But in other cases and for other farmers the coverage is sometimes too little. In a small number of cases, the coverage may even be duplicative and too much."
The 2012 farm bill will be written in a difficult budget environment, but AFBF believes that five key principles should be followed during the rewrite process. Nelson outlined Farm Bureau’s five farm bill principles as:
- The options AFBF supports will be fiscally responsible.
- AFBF believes the basic funding structure of the 2008 farm bill should not be altered. In other words, money should not be shifted from one title of the farm bill to another.
- The proposals AFBF supports will aim to benefit all agricultural sectors.
- AFBF believes world trade rulings should be considered.
- AFBF believes consideration should be given to the stable business environment that is critical to success in agriculture.
While many concepts, such as whole-farm revenue options, will undoubtedly be floated during the farm bill rewrite, Nelson said that Farm Bureau would keep an open mind, but would be guided by its five farm bill principles.
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation