Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture are preparing for the next Farm Bill debate.
NASDA president Greg Ibach, director of Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture, says they want to work with farmers and ranchers on their wish lists.
Ibach says, “We’ve asked each of our director-secretaries or commissioners to go back home and either through town hall meetings, meeting with commodity and grower organizations or any way they think will work for them to get ideas from producers as to what they’re looking for.”
The last Farm Bill provided a trade-off where crop insurance replaced disaster programs. Ibach says discussions need to be held prior to the new Farm Bill to see if that approach is working.
Ibach says, “We have to be careful to understand and make sure we know when we’re talking to our commodity groups if they’re still interested in that trade-off for subsidized crop insurance or if they want to go back to a system where Congress doesn’t help out as much with crop insurance and tries to do something when there’s a disaster.”
Ibach says the two biggest worries now are low commodity prices and ever-increasing regulatory pressures from federal agencies like the EPA and OSHA.
“Prices are depressed so that’s what’s most top of mind but producers are also very concerned about the regulatory environment that exists out there,” Ibach says. “As the Obama administration is closing down, we see threats to atrazine, anhydrous ammonia and the list goes on.”
Farm Bills typically remain in place for five years. The latest one, the Agricultural Act of 2014, authorizes nutrition and agriculture programs across the U.S. for the years of 2014 through 2018.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton