American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman has sent a letter to farm bill conferees detailing Farm Bureau’s views on an array of issues related to the legislation. Overall – according to Stallman – both the Senate and House bills provide an adequate food and farm safety net for consumers and farmers built around options that are consistent with Farm Bureau policy. According to Stallman – the overarching concerns for Farm Bureau on the farm bill are ensuring that permanent law is not repealed and a complete, unified bill continues. He wrote that the threat of reinstatement of the long-outdated policies of the 1938 and 1949 acts have served as strong motivation for Congress to enact new farm bills for some time. Stallman said repealing those acts and making the 2013 farm bill commodity title permanent law could make it difficult in the future to generate sufficient political pressure to adjust the commodity safety net provisions should conditions in production agriculture change. Stallman said Farm Bureau also fears a farm bill without a meaningful nutrition title will make it difficult – if not impossible – for the House and Senate to reach agreement on a final version that can be signed by the President.
Stallman’s letter repeatedly notes Farm Bureau’s opposition to means testing and payment caps for conservation, commodity and crop insurance programs. He also highlights the group’s support of a House provision making target-price-based payments on planted rather than historical acreage. On other issues – Stallman wrote that Farm Bureau supports the House provision that would prohibit states from banning the sale of foods produced in other states due to objections over production standards, supports a Senate provision to establish a new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, opposes the Senate provision to require farmers to file a conservation compliance plan with USDA and follow for all crops planted in wetlands and for all annually tilled crops on highly erodible land in order to qualify for crop insurance premium assistance and opposes House provisions to repeal regulations on livestock and poultry practices that USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration finalized in December 2011 that provide for treatment of producers of those animals.
Farm Bureau Makes Priorities Known