The Farm Bill is one of the largest pieces of agricultural legislation that moves through the congressional process in Washington, DC. Farm bills are considered approximately every five years by our congressional leaders. Missouri Farm Bureau supports the passage and enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill as it relates to farmers and ranchers throughout the country. The bill works to provide a basic level of risk protection for farmers. Farm Bills historically contain multiple sections or “titles”, such as commodities, conservation, trade, and crop insurance.
Not only does the 2018 Farm Bill recognize the importance of food security by continuing many traditional commodity programs, it incorporates revisions to current law that make the programs more effective for farmers and ranchers. In addition, this bill continues recent changes to programs that are beneficial for our cotton and dairy producers. Funding for other priority issues such as trade, rural broadband, and a National Animal Health Vaccine Bank strengthen our support for advancement of this legislation.
The House and the Senate draft two entirely separate bills. If both bills are passed, a committee will meet to draft and negotiate a new bill that will be taken to the President’s desk for his approval or lack thereof. While passage of the 2018 Farm Bill from both sides of Congress is a possibility, it is still too early to determine a likely outcome. The 2018 Farm Bill is not perfect, but Missouri’s farmers and ranchers need the certainty the bill provides before the current bill expires on September 30, 2018.
Missouri Farm Bureau Policy
We support the following principles to guide development of commodity and risk management programs in the next farm bill:
- Maintaining the funding baseline. Agriculture funding was reduced in the last farm bill while other sectors of the economy remained the same or increased spending. We oppose any further cuts to spending authorized under the farm bill.
- Continuing the safety net comprised of crop insurance and commodity programs. Maintaining funding for crop insurance is our highest priority.
- Continuing the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs while giving producers the opportunity to re-elect/re-enroll.
- Modifying the ARC-County program to address payment discrepancies between counties, but it should not be a state level program.
- Maintaining the ARC-Individual program as a program option.
- Using RMA yield numbers as the preferred data for determining county program yields.
- Basing Title 1 payments on historic rather than planted acres.
- Designating cottonseed as an “other oilseed” and providing eligibility for the ARC/PLC programs. The Stacked Income Protection Program (STAX) should be modified or eliminated with savings directed to the cottonseed oil program.
- Eliminating generic base.
- Modifying “actively engaged” rules to more broadly define “family” by including non-lineal familial relationships such as first or second cousins. The family farm exemption from the management restriction and recordkeeping requirements should be maintained.
- Opposing payment limitations for all commodity programs.
- Developing farm savings accounts as a risk management option for all producers.
- Favoring the concept of a catastrophic or deep-loss insurance program.