Daryl Cates, President American Soybean Association, just returned from Washington and personal visits with lawmakers about the Farm bill.
“I met with Senator Boozman, Stabenow, and house Chairman GT Thompson, and with our congressman in my district, Congressman Bost. They all are singing from the same hymnal that they want to make sure we get this farm bill done this year, and they feel very confident that it will get done. One of the big things that was I guess a real shocker to me was with Senator Boozman. He said that this will be a $1.4 trillion farm bill. You know, the last one I think was around 800 billion, but 1.1 trillion is for the SNAP program.”
The Illinois farmer says he pushed hard for more funding for the Market Access Program and foreign market development when he met with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow.
“One of my big asks was that we definitely feel that we need more money for the farm bill. Senator Stabenow said she understood it, but she said she didn’t think there was going to be any extra money at all for the farm bill. She was going to have to fight to make sure that we kept what we had.”
Cates says for MAP and FMD funding levels really need to be double what they are now.
“We were given $200 million 20 years ago, when you take inflation to into effect, those dollars are almost half of what it used to be. Five years ago, it was given permission that they could take administrative cost out of that 200 million. So, we’re only getting $130 million for those two programs. If anything, we need to at least get the full 200 million, if administration is going to cost 70 million, then we need to make it a $270-$300 million program, and she says, that might be a possibility.”