As the federal budget continues to rack up record deficits, commodity organizations understand the need to find effective and efficient farm programs that help farmers manage risk and cost taxpayers less money. Both Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Growers Association have long supported proposals that combine crop insurance and USDA programs to help growers in those years where prices and/or yields are reduced. For growers, especially young farmers, managing the potential loss of revenue is vital. Revenue programs are not designed to replace crop insurance nor are they a guarantee of a farmer’s profitability. They are a means to manage some of the risk that current crop insurance programs do not cover.
What you need to know…
The main difference
The Senate Ag committee is led by Senator Stabenow-D from Michigan who has led her committee to draft a bill that eliminates target prices. Many believe that target prices encourage farmers to farm for the government payment rather than the marketplace.
The House Ag Committee is led by Congressman Lucas-R from Oklahoma. Oklahoma, being a southern state, receives pressure from many farmers of rice, cotton, and peanuts to have direct payments or at the very least target payment programs.
Both the Senate and the House have similar programs for risk management with differences in payment limits and percentage of coverage.
Senate Version Summary:
In the United States, some 16 million jobs depend on the strength and continued success of American agriculture. Our farmers grow the safest and most abundant supply of food, fiber and energy in the world. Innovations in agriculture allow families to put healthy, nutritious food on their tables at a lower cost than in most other countries. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act reforms, eliminates and streamlines numerous programs, saving taxpayers $23 billion. It does this while strengthening the tools available to producers to help manage risks and conserve natural resources.
Farmers face unique risks unlike those in other professions. Weather and market conditions outside a producer’s control can have a devastating effect on producers, especially family farms. This bill ends direct payments, strengthens crop insurance, and encourages an innovative risk management approach that only provides assistance to producers when their businesses are threatened by risks outside their control.