Rep. Conaway on USMCA, RFS, MFP, farmer safety net issues
Why the farm bill matters to all of us From farm to fork, our food system should be something we are proud of, one that supports farmers, makes healthy food available for everyone, and protects the environment we all depend upon. Farm bill priorities Each version of the farm bill presents both opportunities and threats for food system reform.
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Blog post. Helping farmers connect with local markets We've pushed for farm bill provisions that would expand markets for local farmers and make healthy food more affordable and accessible.
Attacks on SNAP are rooted in persistent, divisive myths about the program. Here are the facts. The science of agroecology can make American farming more sustainable.
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So why are we investing so little in it? Although there are many things to celebrate in the new farm bill, there were also disappointments. This was the case for conservation, which was a bit of a mixed bag—and worth a closer look. Conservation tools for farmers The farm bill includes several programs that encourage good stewardship of farmland by helping farmers adopt practices that reduce soil damage , fertilizer runoff , and other undesirable impacts.
A better safety net In recent years, UCS has documented the importance of healthy soils for farmers and their communities , as well as the negative and costly environmental consequences of the federal crop insurance program.
The agricultural industry as a whole has the highest median age of all reported sectors in the US labor force. Like every farm bill before it, the farm bill is set up to be a budget buster. Reports are the bill is estimated to be revenue neutral, but farm bills are always more expensive than they appear, on the magnitude of hundreds of billions of dollars. The conference agreement appears likely to continue this costly tradition.
The bill contains a number of provisions designed to increase taxpayer spending on agricultural income subsidy programs. Farm Bills are notorious for their pandering to parochial interests. This one does not change that trend. The bill continues the failed sugar program.
Sugar prices for producers of sugar cane and sugar beets in Section are protected through price supports and restricting sugar leading consumers to pay more for sugar than in any other country. Long story short, there are a plethora of government mandates in agriculture that might seem like good intentions but actually raise the costs for consumers and literally makes the government pick who should succeed or fail rather than allowing producers to succeed on their own merits.
Members of Congress have paraded the farm bill, even the most egregious provisions of the legislation, as necessary to provide predictability and stability for the US agricultural sector when in actuality it does neither. The single greatest economic threat to agriculture in this country is the continuing trade war with our top trading partners. When President Trump started the trade war by implementing tariffs on steel and aluminum as well as tariffs on China, ag producers were particularly hit hard with retaliatory tariffs. The farm bill does not eliminate any of the retaliatory tariffs , including major commodities like corn, soybeans, dairy, pork, and beef.
Nor does the farm bill reopen markets lost through tariffs or create new markets to replace those ag markets lost.
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What the farm bill does do is create even more loopholes for a few ag producers to exploit so they can receive more subsidies. Top 10 Worst Provisions in the Farm Bill.
Reversing 30 years of progress on common sense limits to subsidy programs Millionaire households eligible for income subsidies The Farm Bill conference agreement reverses more than 30 years of progress in focusing farm safety net programs on farmers with an actual need. The CRS economists report that supporters of farm programs have continued to call for disaster relief, which indicates the safety net is not working well.
Other critics have said the marketing loan provides no relief since it is well below current commodity market levels. So how should those issues be repaired and limited funds be allocated? Farm risk management. That defines the crop insurance program, which has a relatively high participation rate, but may be the only safety net program that exists in years to come. That is because of the high level of subsidization and the opportunity to reduce both yield and revenue risk.
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There is a limited overlap of covering revenue variability if a producer has both the ACRE program and crop insurance. With several programs offering a counter-cyclical price protection, Congress may ask if there are more cost-effective ways of doing that. Commodity coverage. Over time, the major commodities have been included within the USDA umbrella and have received farm program benefits.
But smaller and less-politically powerful commodities have not had the opportunity to jump to the higher level. CRS says Congress should decide if the commodity support mix should be changed by developing a whole-farm insurance program.