Oct 9, 20172018 Farm Bill needs addressed by New York Farm Bureau
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher encouraged congressional members of the House Agriculture Committee to work closely with farmers to improve the 2018 Farm Bill. In particular, he highlighted the need for a revamped safety net for New York’s dairy farmers and improved protection for the important specialty crops grown in New York. His presentation led off a special listening session held today at SUNY Cobleskill where Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-TX, and members of his committee were able to hear first-hand from farmers and others associated with New York agriculture about their priorities for a new Farm Bill.
New York Farm Bureau’s goals for the 2018 Farm Bill include no further cuts in spending. Agriculture accepted more than $20 billion in cuts in the 2014 Farm Bill, and farms currently continue to face low commodity prices and a downturn in the farm economy. The farmer led organization also asked the committee not to split apart the farm and nutrition titles. Both components of this bill need to work together to ensure a safe and reliable food system for all.
Fisher also spoke about the need for major changes to be made to the dairy safety net. The Dairy Margin Protection Program program in its current form has failed dairy farmers during the three-year slump in milk prices, which has increased the pressure on financially strapped family farms. Fisher said lawmakers should strengthen both the safety net and affordability for farmers, including support for Dairy Revenue Protection and an increased cap on the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program.
New York Farm Bureau also encourages congress to keep the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program as a pilot program. This product was intended to help diversified farms that do not have good crop insurance options. In addition, Farm Bureau continues to support a large number of rural development, research, food procurement and commodity-specific benefits in the Farm Bill.
“We appreciate Chairman Conaway and the rest of his committee’s time to travel to New York to hear directly from our farmers on how we can work together to improve the Farm Bill. We also thank Rep. John Faso, R-R-NY, for his effort to make this listening session happen in his district. Everyone who eats is touched by this important legislation, and we need to ensure the programs and safety nets it provides are workable and effective. We also encourage the Agriculture Committee to have a thorough discussion about the bill and then move to mark it up in a timely fashion. We can’t afford the uncertainty of expiring programs and funding that farmers experienced five years ago with the previous Farm Bill,” said Fisher.