Expect Tweaks to ARC, PLC Programs in New Farm Bill

March 6, 2017 11:54 AM

The 2017 Commodity Classic is now in the books, and commodity groups finished their meetings with a sense of urgency and a burning thought in mind: unless change happens, farm incomes are likely to be down. In tough times, a strong safety net is important.

Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Ag Committee, says he’s been on a 2-year honeymoon with production agriculture.

“Everybody loves me and they all give me hugs and kisses and standing ovations because I haven’t done the Farm Bill,” said Conaway.

Work on the 2018 Farm Bill is already underway, and Conaway is confident it will get done on time.

“I can’t find one person who says, ‘Nope. I like the drama of an expiration. I like the drama of short-term extension. I like the drama of permanent law coming back,’” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Farm groups at Commodity Classic say they don’t see too many hurdles in the way.

“We think that things are working pretty well for soybean farmers,” said Patrick Delaney, communications for the American Soybean Association. “We recognize there are some things that need to change in the cotton program and in the dairy program.”

Conaway does expect tweaks to both Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and specifically Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC).

“One of the missions that the ARC program was not effective on was a long-term price reduction and that was told to those folks who wanted that program in 2014,” said Conaway.

“There’s been some problems with ARC,” said Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). “I don’t think that’s news to anybody. None of this is confirmed, but we are looking at smaller areas out west, maybe we should be looking at crop insurance districts.”

When it comes to splitting the farming and nutrition titles, Conaway make no promises other than to say he’ll do what needs to be done to get both passed. He believes ultimately the Farm Bill will deserve support from all sides of the aisle.

“As we look at these proposed changes or eliminations, what [does] it do to the cost of food?”

Chairman Conaway addressed many other topics including RFS reform and ethanol.

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Spell Check

Veronica Lack
Waukee, IA
3/7/2017 08:59 AM

  Our State of Iowa went Red-Republican because the Big Oil Corps Anhydrous Ammonia and CAFO Nitrogen fertilizer from Industrial AG gave access and application of fertilizers by the Koch Brothers and CAFO operators to larger Corp land farmers. This pushed out more small farmers and put farmland by sales or retirement or rental agreements into the hands of programmers in offices. No one looks at the contamination of Iowa's Source Waters with both of these two very water soluble Nitrogen fertilizers. That are testing at the highest levels in the US in Iowa. Waterloo lost the use of one of its wells in 2015, the University of Iowa's water system has tested over the MCL's for over a year for Trihalomethanes formed from Chlorination of Source Water contaminated with both of these Nitrogen fertilizers. Des Moines Water Works had to switch Rivers in August because Bill Stowe could not treat the Raccoon River safely, because of these Nitrogen fertilizers. The Trihalomethanes and Chloramines formed when we are told by the IDNR to Chlorinate for the high levels of Bacteria are causing damage to our skin, hair, eyes, lungs, throats, intestines, and now that Ammonia Nitrogen as N levels are up to 1.0 to 12.2 levels we find there is no feasible/cost effective way to filter Anhydrous Ammonia Nitrogen fertilizer out of our Source Waters. ISU says it can only get in by Point Source Pollution with some not following Iowa's drainage laws and the Clean Water Act. But it has become so convenient and Tea Party Republicans refuse to get IDNR permits or Corps of Eng 404 permits, while only some farmers are forced to be in compliance with drainage laws. Red Barn's are replaced with piles of bird/animal waste in the huge flood channels dug out to deliver runoff from 50,000 acres to a Designated National Wetlands Sinkholes in an Aquifer Recharge Area in Cedar (W) Township Mitchell County Iowa. Discriminatory/Non-Enforcement of laws is why 1/2 Mil are drinking Ammonia Nitrogen as N.

Western, NE
3/7/2017 10:05 AM

  Of course there are going to be tweaks to the farm bill. What a statement of the obvious. That's like saying the sky is blue! Interesting post though by Veronica. Just takes a few to screw it up for the rest of us. Then we get over regulation. From one extreme to the other. Large corporations are not good stewards of the land. They are profit driven by investors and Wall Street analysts. Screw everyone to make a buck so their fat dog CEO gets his multi-million dollar bonus! I think it's time the Republican Party gets thrashed or maybe just trashed. After all, they're the ones that came up with the inheritance tax in the first place! (Doesn't fit this article, just thought I'd throw that in anyway!)

Russ Jennings
Topeka, KS
3/6/2017 09:01 PM

  I think the farmers should tweak set-a-side acres when they certify for the next crop year. Each farm number should get to vote on a percentage then the USDA picks an average for the coming year. This is the only way they will have a little control of their own destiny. www.afairmarketprice.com


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