Ag committees in both chambers of Congress passed their two different versions of a new farm bill last week. The Senate measure would reinstate target payments that were left out of last year’s measure.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen sees that as beneficial for producers who need a safety net when commodities markets fall.
Hansen says, “They have added back in target prices which we strongly support because they are a cost-effective mechanism that helps us protect farmers’ income when there is a price collapse.”
The huge volume of legislation costs nearly $100-billion a year over five years, establishing policies for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food stamp program.
Hansen says he’s disappointed the House Ag Committee version made cuts that would strengthen grain inspections, packers and stockyards rules that were part of the 2008 farm bill. He says it’s a slap in the face to livestock producers, especially to those who depend on contracts.
“These were small but important and incremental steps in order to try to help USDA to do its job to enforce the packers and stockyards provisions,” Hansen says.
Hansen says both the Senate and House versions of the farm bill have positives and negatives and amendments will need to be offered on the floor to address them.
He says it’ll then be up to the conference committee to iron out the differences and, hopefully, get a final package approved this year.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton