A longtime agriculture Senator says huge crop surpluses and low prices have boosted the odds of a year-early rewrite of the 2014 Farm Bill. Agriculture leaders and producers have argued for an early farm bill for weeks, pointing to the flaws in the existing farm safety net. Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley agrees that there is a need for urgency.
“When we get back to Washington we’re going to be hearing a lot of stress from farmers that are having trouble getting a refinance for the new crop year. I think instead of dealing with the 2019 Farm Bill, I think there’s going to be a lot of talk about getting a new Farm Bill passed in 2017, preempt the 2018 fifth year of the 2014 Farm Bill, and get a new Farm Bill started a year early.”
As for dealing with farm problems in 2017, Grassley says “we won’t have time to make much difference for next year except to make sure that the farm loan programs have plenty of money available for farmers that can’t finance through normal financing or bankers that are demanding a loan guarantee.”
Grassley says there is not enough time to get a farm bill done before farmers plant a crop next year, meaning any new bill would apply to 2018. But help cannot come soon enough for agriculture. Net farm income is down some $30 billion or more since 2013 as prices fall well below the cost of production. Grassley predicts lawmakers deep into discussions of the next farm bill within the next six or seven months.
Source: NAFB News Service