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HomeAg NewsAFB Supports Thompson Farm Bill Principles, As Pre-Markup Fight Reaches Boiling Point

AFB Supports Thompson Farm Bill Principles, As Pre-Markup Fight Reaches Boiling Point

The American Farm Bureau sees much it likes in the House farm bill proposal but less in the Senate’s as the partisan battle lines deepen in the lead-up to Thursday’s House Ag panel markup.

The farm bill fight’s reached a boiling point even before the House markup, with Ag Democrats mounting a full-court press against Chair Thompson’s GOP proposal, unleashing an exhaustive roster of hunger, conservation, and labor groups who opposed to it.

But the American Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen, and even the National Farmers Union see much they like. Joe Gilson is director of government affairs with the Farm Bureau and he says “Where Chairman Thompson is coming down is he’s doing an across-the-board reference price increase that is 10 to 20 percent over what is currently the statutory reference price. And Farm Bureau believes that the 10 to 20 percent increase is meeting the moment.”

While Senate Ag Chair Stabenow’s plan at five percent more heavily favors southern crops. Stabenow would lower the AGI income cap to 700 thousand dollars for farmers to receive farm payments. Gilson says “They might have a gross income that’s over 700 thousand, but net income where they don’t make any money that year because of the increased expenses that they faced on the farm. And so, just the reality of farming in today’s inflationary environment, that’s not going to work for a lot of farms and ranches.”

And, on CRP, Gilson says,  “She’s increasing the number of acres, and she’s increasing the payment rate, and so that is a little bit of a concern for us.”

That CRP will compete with beginning farmers and ranchers. House Chair Thompson hopes if he can get some bipartisan support in committee and advance a bill in the House, it will put pressure on Senate Democrats to move. But it’s a tall order in an election year and the need for another extension by September 30th.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau

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