Saturday, June 15, 2024
԰appAg NewsSenate Farm Bill Differences Surface at Beginning Farmers’ Hearing

Senate Farm Bill Differences Surface at Beginning Farmers’ Hearing

Partisan farm bill differences continue in Washington. They cropped up again at a recent Senate Ag panel hearing on beginning farmers.

Republicans want “more farm in the farm bill,” but retiring Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says boosting price support triggers or reference prices could come at a cost to beginning farmers. Stabenow said, “The House proposal to increase these programs by a 70 percent, an extraordinary 70 percent increase in payments and relax and remove payment ineligibility limits for the biggest farms, will make land rents even more unaffordable for beginning farmers.”

Arguing that making crop insurance more affordable is a better option than forcing new farmers to buy expensive land with base acres that get automatic payments. But top Senate Ag Republican John Boozman says it’s not that simple when new farmers have many needs. Boozman said, “ARC, PLC, crop insurance, the milk program, the disaster programs, all of those things, so you’ve got the ability to hedge your risks. That’s the bottom line, so, so very difficult. So, we’re working hard to do that, and we’ve talked about putting more farm in the farm bill, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

And without updating old reference prices, Mississippi grower Christian Good says more affordable base acres will mean little. Good said, “The reference prices at those price levels would not sustain our farmer operation or our family farms operations. So, base acres is a discussion, but I think, when we look at the importance of reference prices, with the base without the reference price to support it, there’s not much price support that’s actually happening.”

Especially, Good and other new farmers argue, with soaring input costs.

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

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