Talks about the 2012 Farm Bill are already underway, and Ohio Farm Bureau members need to start thinking now about what policies they want to see implemented at the national level, said Adam Sharp, OFBF’s senior director of national policy and regulatory affairs.
“Now is the time for ideas so they can be in place by the time American Farm Bureau meets in January and sets policy,” he said.
Discussions started last spring about implementation of the current farm bill, along with what the next farm bill will look like, Sharp said. OFBF met recently with leaders from the Ohio Soybean Association, Ohio Corn Growers Association, Ohio Wheat Growers Association and Ohio State University to discuss their common interest in the next farm bill for farm support programs.
“With the current budget constraints, there’s already a lot of talk of what the next farm bill will look like. The key is to maintain what we have in the current farm bill and not shift money from current farm bill programs to meet the needs of other programs,” Sharp said, noting that in-depth discussions about the 2012 Farm Bill won’t start until the federal budget is set in the spring.
He also said the outcome of the November election could affect the next farm bill and other agriculture-related items.
“A key will be what happens in the November election and who will control the House and Senate ag committees,” he said.
Farm Bureau’s position is that basic funding of the 2008 Farm Bill should not be altered, Sharp said.
“Right now we very much want to make sure the budget baseline for farm support programs are maintained in the next farm bill,” he said. “Farm support programs are less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget, which is a small price to pay for stabilization and availability of our food supply.”
Other key positions of Farm Bureau are that the next farm should be fiscally responsible, benefit all agricultural sectors and consider world trade rulings.
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman told members of the Senate Agriculture Committee recently that the 2012 Farm Bill needs to support a stable business environment critical for success in agriculture.
“Abruptly changing the rules of the game on farmers, particularly in a tight credit environment, can be disastrous to a farmer or rancher’s operation,” he said. “Our options will recognize the need for transition periods for major policy changes.”