Strong commodity prices have made the Congress question whether they should reopen the farm bill. In testimony today before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Dee Vaughan strongly urged Congress to stay the course and resist opening the farm bill.
Citing farm programs as a true success story and a viable safety net for farmers, Vaughan, along with other commodity representatives, reiterated current farm policy allows farmers more predictability with their crops, better fiscal discipline and programs that limit assistance to the times when aid is most needed.
Vaughan notes U.S. corn growers find themselves in a much more favorable commodity market as a result of established farm programs that have attributed to the growth in ethanol production, increases in exports and record production levels.
"Recent projections for this yearâ€™s corn crop indicate an increase of 800,000 acres to 71.9 million acres (harvested). Corn utilization is expected to climb by 100 million bushels to a record level exceeding 10.5 billion bushels. The outlook for corn is certainly encouraging, but growers continue to face serious challenges," he says.
Midcourse changes, including proposals to further restrict farm support payments are extremely inequitable, Vaughan continues, noting that without the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act safety net, corn growers would face serious challenges and uncertainty in the marketplace. He explains farmers face many risks year in and year out and the safety net of the countercyclical payment program protects U.S. growers when prices plummet. Further analysis is needed to ensure the marketing loan program keeps pace with local market changes. In the end, farmers prefer to receive financial returns from the market.
Vaughan concludes, "Todayâ€™s farm bill enables U.S. corn growers to make further advances in food production, renewable energy and conservation practices that would not be possible otherwise. In fact, farm programs have helped to create new opportunities resulting in additional benefits for both producers and the American taxpayer."