Fiscally Sound Farm Policy?

February 5, 2012 05:34 PM
Fiscally Sound Farm Policy?

Is it possible to write flexible, fiscally sound national farm policy? Voting delegates of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) think so. In approving AFBF’s farm policy for 2012, the farmers and ranchers endorsed a multipronged policy proposal, including a provision for catastrophic revenue loss protection that works with a range of crop insurance products, as well as amending current marketing loan provisions to better reflect market values.

"Our delegates approved a program to help farmers manage the many different types and levels of risk they face today, in particular catastrophic revenue losses that can threaten the viability of a farm or ranch," says AFBF President Bob Stallman. "That is consistent with what we believe is the core mission of the federal farm program."

Stallman, a cattle and rice producer from Columbus, Texas, was re-elected as AFBF president for a seventh two-year term. Barry Bushue was re-elected to a third two-year term as AFBF vice president. Bushue produces berries and nursery plants in Boring, Ore., and is Oregon Farm Bureau president.

Direct Payments Gone. The delegates defeated a proposal to retain the current farm bill’s direct payments. By a nearly 2-1 margin, they defeated an amendment that would have allowed
a patchwork of support through multiple programs for different commodities and regions.

"Delegate action against the patchwork approach recognized that it is impossible to ensure equity between diverse programs for various commodities," Stallman says. "Without that assurance, one program would inevitably provide more protection than the next and we would inadvertently be encouraging producers to take their signals from government programs rather than the marketplace."

AFBF’s farm policy encourages farmers to manage their farms using available risk management tools. Farmers should make individual management decisions to purchase crop insurance coverage that suits their farms and individual risk levels, Stallman says.

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