A Nebraska farmer who serves on the Nebraska Farm Bureau board says farmers and ranchers need the certainty that a five-year farm bill will bring.
Kevin Peterson, who raises hogs and grows corn and soybeans on his farm near Osceola, says members of the Nebraska Farm Bureau delegation took that message with them wherever they went during a couple of days they recently spent in Washington, D.C.
The 2008 Farm Bill has been extended after Congress failed to reach agreement on a new bill. The Senate approved a version. The House Agriculture Committee approved a version. The full House never took up the measure. Nothing got past.
A feeble effort to make the farm bill part of the end-of-year fiscal negotiations failed to gain traction. The current Farm Bill was extended.
Peterson says the Farm Bureau emphasized the need for a five-year farm bill, especially the need for crop insurance and disaster assistance to manage risk.
“Risk and agriculture go hand-in-hand,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I don’t care if you’re raising crops, if you’re raising livestock, fruits and vegetables, anything like that. Anytime you stick a seed into the ground, or stick an animal on feed and you hope the price and the animal is there with you at the end of the process. I mean, that takes a whole lot of stomach for risk.”
Risk became evident last year, during the drought which hung over the Corn Belt the entire growing season. It threatens to spill into another growing season and that motivates the Farm Bureau to push even harder for a full five-year farm bill.
“The drought really makes these conversations that much more important,” according to Peterson.
Peterson says a five-year bill would give farmers and ranchers a clear view of what they can expect if the worst happens. He says crop insurance would allow farmers to manage risk, while being less costly to the federal government. Peterson says livestock producers need to know whether disaster assistance is available.
Peterson says he left Washington with the impression that members of Congress are listening.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]