American Farm Bureau graphic showing how countries around the world help farmers manage risk.

As Farm Bill mark ups draw near, AFBF details Farm Bill priorities

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) intends to introduce a Chairman’s mark of the Farm Bill for committee mark up the week of May 6. It is expected the bill will look similar to the Senate passed version of the 2012 Farm Bill, and will have several provisions opposed by Farm Bureau including means testing and conservation compliance for crop insurance and potential payment limits. The House Committee on Agriculture is expected to mark up their version of the Farm Bill beginning May 15.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) board approved a document for distribution detailing AFBF’s priority issues for a Farm Bill.

Highlights of the AFBF proposal include:

– Support the Senate budget reduction number of $23 billion.

– Model the Farm Bureau Farm Bill Proposal on achieving this level of savings in a construct that can be proportionately reduced if further reductions are necessary, rather than one that would require a total rewrite.

– Support these core principles for the commodity and crop insurance programs in the farm bill:

  • Offer producers a choice of program options;
  • Protect and strengthen the crop insurance program and do not reduce its funding;
  • Provide a commodity title to encourage producers to follow market signals rather than making planting decisions in anticipation of government payments;
  • Refrain from basing any program on cost of production; and
  • Ensure equity across program commodities.

– Offer program crop producers a Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), an improved crop insurance program, target prices, and marketing loans as their new safety net. The bill would create a three-legged safety net stool: 1) producers will select between a STAX program and a target price program; 2) the marketing loan program and 3) the crop insurance program.

– Establish a STAX program for all program commodities and for apples, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes and sweet corn.

A document providing greater detail on the AFBF proposal is attached.