Farm Bill Proposals Coming Fast and Furious

ASA and NCFC both weigh in on what they feel is needed in the next Farm Bill.

Published on: Sep 30, 2011

The American Soybean Association wants Congress to consider its proposal when lawmakers formulate the 2012 Farm Bill. Titled: "Risk Management for America's Farmers", ASA says their proposal will help farmers manage the risks they face from adverse weather, crop disease, and volatile commodity markets. "ASA believes the current farm program safety net can be made more effective, efficient, and defensible by reallocating baseline funding to this revenue-based program that improves risk management and complements crop insurance," said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean producer from Lafayette, Indiana.

According to ASA, the RMAF proposal would partially protect revenue losses by farmers of soybeans and other program commodities that result from low prices or reduced yields for their crops. The program would establish commodity-specific revenue benchmarks for individual farmers based on historical yields and prices, and compensate them for part of the difference when current-year revenue for a commodity on their farm falls below a%age of the benchmark. All planted and prevented planted acres would be covered under the plan. ASA believes the program would complement the existing crop insurance program used by most farmers.

According to Kemper, preliminary indications are that RMAF could cost significantly less than the existing ACRE, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program, Direct Payment, and Counter-Cyclical programs, resulting in savings that can be used to meet part of agriculture's share of deficit reduction required by the Budget Control Act.

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives has also released their priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill that was approved by its executive board this week.

"When it comes to writing the next farm bill, many things are still very much up in the air from the impact that the Super Committee will have on the process, to the budgetary resources that will be available to the agriculture committees, to the timing of the bill itself," said Chuck Conner, NCFC President & CEO. "I believe that NCFC's member-led process of developing this farm bill framework positions the organization well to be as flexible as needed as the answers to these unknown variables become apparent."

NCFC urges that the next Farm Bill build on the successes of the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, focusing on defending the agriculture baseline, promoting the value of farmer cooperatives, ensuring an adequate safety net, and promoting market access and U.S. agriculture exports.

"Another major piece of our framework reflects one concern that NCFC repeatedly heard from co-op producer-members from across the country - namely, that increased regulations from federal agencies threaten to add significant cost to their farms and cooperatives," said Conner. "These comments led to NCFC's recent proposal for a two-year moratorium on all significant, discretionary regulatory actions that would add costs to agricultural production. Moving forward, NCFC will continue to work with others in the agricultural community and leaders on Capitol Hill to push for such a moratorium."