September 23, 2014

Cong. Smith takes input from Nebraskans on building new Farm Bill

Cong. Adrian Smith

The House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill will look much different, according to Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith.

During a recent public meeting near Crofton, Smith says farmers told him the Senate version would cover shallow losses under crop insurance, but they want the House to include catastrophic coverage.

Smith says that will only happen with the current budget problems if farmers pay higher premiums.

“I hear from producers across the 3rd District of Nebraska who want to go more toward that deep, deep loss,” Smith says. “That’s a principal of risk management in general where you really buy insurance for the more catastrophic events rather than some of the other dips that can take place.”

Farmers told Smith they support the Senate eliminating direct payments and target prices, however that was heavily criticized by House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas. Smith says those programs will be tough to defend.

“I don’t think he will succeed in restoring direct payments,” Smith says. “Practically every meeting I’ve had, which is several across rural Nebraska in the 3rd District, they tell me that direct payments are unnecessary, in fact sometimes are even counterproductive. I don’t see that part of farm policy coming back.”

Smith says while both chambers would like to pass a Farm Bill by fall, a short-term extension is possible until after the November election.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton