Senate Ag members repeatedly stressed the importance of crop insurance and the need to restructure commodity programs in the next farm bill during the panel’s latest hearing on the farm bill. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow led off the call to protect and improve crop insurance in the next farm bill.
Stabenow; “Crop insurance is the number one risk management tool for producers, but historically, hasn’t been available to some farmers who are most in need of it. I’m going to continue to focus on expanding and strengthening crop insurance for all our farmers.”
Senate GOP Whip and South Dakotan John Thune; “Crop insurance and commodity programs must be maintained, and where possible, improved in the next farm bill to help producers face challenges from high inflation and input costs to adverse weather events.”
The American Farm Bureau predicts a 16 percent drop in net farm income this year on top of a further four percent hike in record costs.
USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie; “We are committed to crop insurance. We know how important it is in your neck of the woods, but it’s important across the country. And we think creating incentives for producers to take advantage of crop insurance, the same thing on the NAP side, the more we can do to get them into those safety net programs, we think that’s critically important.”
But with possible budget cuts under House GOP control, top Senate Ag Republican John Boozman called for ways to reallocate dollars from flush disaster aid spending. Boozman; “We’re spending the money, anyway, and 70 billion dollars is a huge amount of money compared with the three billion dollars, less than three billion dollars, that are in the actual programs. How do we capture, maybe capture some of that $70 billion and put it into programs that people can rely on.”
Including ARC and PLC, where FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says producers stress reference prices need to be adjusted to deal with tougher economic conditions than in the last farm bill.