February 11, 2016

Farm Bureau likes philosophy of Farm Bill, wants some changes (AUDIO)

Nebraska Farm Bureau officials seem pleased with the overall philosophy of the Farm Bill being discussed on Capitol Hill, but would like to see a few adjustments.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson is in Washington, D.C., talking with members of the United States House Agriculture Committee about the Farm Bill. Overall, Nelson is pleased with the Farm Bill approved by the Senate, but sees opportunity for improvement in the House.

Trading direct payments for crop insurance protection is a move the Farm Bureau supports. But, Nelson says the Bureau would like the legislation to focus on protecting farmers from catastrophic losses.

“We lean toward the deeper loss that would provide a safety net when we have times of catastrophic loss like we could see this year with drought or like we had last year with flooding on the Missouri River, for example,” Nelson tells Nebraska Radio Network.

The Farm Bureau would like to change a stringent conservation measure included in the Senate bill that Nelson says could cost farmers crop insurance protection.

“If you had one farm, if for whatever reason as minute as it could be, that might be out of conservation compliance, you would lose crop insurance on all of your farms,” according to Nelson. “We believe that that’s not fair and doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

One concern rises above all others for farm interest groups and that is timing.

Nelson says that even though it is July, time is running out for Congress to complete work on agriculture issues prior to the elections in November. That’s important, according to Nelson. He says most farm interest groups fear the Farm Bill could get lost in the crush of legislation Congress will consider after the elections. Nelson wants Congress to act now.

The United States House Agriculture Committee begins its “mark up” session on the Farm Bill tomorrow morning.

AUDIO: Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson discusses Farm Bill with Brent Martin. [3:35]

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