Friday, March 02, 2012

Commodity groups want new Farm Bill that stresses crop insurance, but disagree on details

Four national commodity groups released a joint statement about the 2012 Farm Bill just before the annual Commodity Classic in Nashville this week. They agreed a new Farm Bill should be passed this year and that crop insurance is their top priority, but disagreed about the details of it and other risk management programs, reports Sarah Gonzalez of Agri-Pulse.

"Our organizations agree that an affordable crop insurance program is our No. 1 priority," the statement reads. "We also stand ready to work with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to create farm programs that provide risk-management told to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control." The presidents of the National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Soybean Association and National Sorghum Producers signed the statement. NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management Program would cover "gaps" left in crop insurance "in the event of multiple year decreasing price yields," reports Gonzalez. He added this type of event is "could be just around the corner."

ASA President Steve Wellman said his organization supports a commodity-specific, revenue-based program. This approach will have less impact on planting and production than a fixed target price program "since any payments would be based on actual revenue losses rather than a decline in prices from fixed support levels," he said. He added his group would be open to an alternative to revenue-based programs, though.

The statement was released just as the House Agriculture Committee announced four more hearings about the farm bill, reports Forest Laws of Delta Farm Press. The first will be March 9 in upstate New York. Other stops are scheduled in Illinois, Kansas and Arkansas. The press release says "the hearings will give members of the House Agriculture Committee the opportunity to hear firsthand how U.S. farm policy is working for farmers and ranchers in advance of writing legislation." (Read more)

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