Record or near-record crop surpluses and low commodity prices are prompting the Nation’s top farm groups to seek help from Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pro Farmer Crop Tour last week confirmed that we have a big crop coming. Perhaps not as big as the USDA forecast in their latest report, but a big enough crop to keep corn and soybean prices well below the cost of production.
As a result, farm groups are calling on the USDA to take some short-term action to help stimulate demand and improve prices. American Farm Bureau market intelligence director John Newton said, “The USDA needs to do more food donations like they did last week with surplus cheese.” In addition, he said actions to help stimulate export demand would be a major help for the corn and soybean markets.
Longer term, Newton said efforts to fix some problems with current Farm Bill safety net programs must be started, “How can we make crop insurance better, how do we make title 1 programs better, so they are more effective safety net programs going forward.”
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says Congress needs to start working on the next Farm Bill immediately, “There are obviously some problems with the safety net that must be addressed in the next Farm Bill, but there are also things Congress can do now.” He said current programs are designed to not provide aid to farmers for at least 1 to 1 ½ years after the loss, “That is too long to wait and needs to be moved up.”
Over the weekend, Indiana Farm Bureau policy delegates set the organization’s position on Farm Bill issues. Katrina Hall with IFB has been appointed to serve on an AFBF Farm Bill task force to develop policy options for the next Farm Bill.