January 25, 2020

Video: A Shift in U.S. Farm Policy

Categories: Farm Bill

From National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) – Sept. 9- “The farm safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers has shifted from the traditional programs of direct payments, counter cyclical payments, etc., to a risk management-based crop insurance program. In 2012, the U.S. crop insurance program protected more than $117 billion in liability on more than 280 million acres.”

NCIS news release -Sept. 9- On the heels of the worst drought in decades, Americas farmers — and the rural economies they support — bounced back and are expecting a record corn crop this year, due in part to the fact that 86 percent of planted cropland was protected by crop insurance last year.

“America’s breadbasket rebounded after a punishing drought and farmers have shown that with the right risk management tools in place, they are among the most resilient and productive workers in the nation,” said Tom Zacharias, president of [NCIS].

A new NCIS video offers an oversight of risk management in agriculture and the various risks farmers face, including those from Mother Nature, market forces and rising input costs. “America used to handle agricultural risk through unbudgeted, after the fact ad hoc disaster bills,” notes Zacharias, adding that this was all taxpayer funded, very costly, and slow to deliver.

Finally, America turned to a before the fact, affordable and more accountable way to handle agriculture disasters: Crop insurance. In 2001, crop insurance began its rise in prominence as farmers’ most useful, and popular risk management tool, all while overall federal agriculture spending was trending down. “The idea here was to reduce taxpayer burden and put the system on a planned, sustained basis, notes Zacharias.

And the drought of 2012 put that model to the test. “Crop insurance was credited with helping to keep the rural economy afloat,” he added, noting a recent study that credited crop insurance with saving 22,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in four Midwest states alone after the 2012 drought. “This was an enormous benefit,” he added, noting that as we saw the drought sweep through the nation last summer, “indemnity payments were paid back to the farmers within ten to thirty days, and money went back into the rural communities.”

“And an important part from the aspect of farm policy is that there was no call for an ad hoc disaster bill,” he added. “And taxpayers were not on the hook for the whole thing.”


Farm Bill; Smithfield; and, Immigration

Categories: Farm Bill /Immigration

Farm Bill- Recess Background

In a television interview back on August 29th, House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) stated that, “[Speaker Boehner] told me and [House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.)], right before we left, that they were going to vote on food stamps and then no matter what happens on that vote—and they weren’t sure if they can pass it—he’s going to appoint conferees right afterwardsAnd then he said to us I want this done by September 30th, so he wants the bill done.  Boehner has never been the problem.”

And in a radio interview on August 8th with J. Doug Williams (K-101-FM radio, Woodward, Okla.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) indicated that, “But if we cannot pass the food stamp language, we’re going to conference on the ‘Farm Bill Farm Bill’ in September.”

On August 28th, The Grand Forks Herald (N.D.) reported that, “[House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.)] said Speaker of the House John Boehner will appoint members of a conference committee on the farm bill in September, after passing a bill dealing with food stamps.

“‘We in the House expect to move a nutrition title out of the House,’ Cantor said. ‘That title will reflect the reform agenda that we’ve been about in the nutrition program.’”

And, Ed O’Keefe reported on August 29th at the Post Politics Blog (Washington Post) that, “Aides to House Republican leaders said Wednesday that they are still considering how to proceed with legislation establishing federal farm and food aid policy after news reports suggested that top leadership had settled on a strategy.”

However, as the Congressional recess ended, political variables changed.