For the past 6 months, an Indiana Farm Bureau task force has been collecting input from farmers statewide on policy priorities for the new Farm Bill. This group presented their findings to Senator Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, last week. IFB President Randy Kron said crop insurance remains their top concern, “Crop insurance takes the weather volatility out of the market and some of the risk off the farm. They said, if funding becomes an issue, this is our top priority.”
Kron said the nutrition title of the bill also got a lot of discussion, “The nutrition title is about 80% of the total cost of the Farm Bill, so we decided that we had better be involved in the discussion on the nutrition title.” This is the first time IFB has included the nutrition title in their policy platform. “The task force decided to oppose blank grants as part of the nutrition title,” Kron told Hoosier Ag Today.
Donnelly said, after meeting with the farmers, he understands where Indiana stands. He will continue to travel the state taking input from other stakeholders on future farm policy, “I want to make sure that when Indiana’s voice is heard on the Farm Bill everyone will be represented.” Hearings in Washington are expected to begin later this year.
The farm programs for corn and soybean producers contained in the last Farm Bill are working well for most Indiana corn and soybean producers. Both Kron and Donnelly feel little in this program needs to be changed in the new Farm Bill.
However, the dairy program is not working. Participation by dairymen around the nation is very low and finding consensus in the dairy industry for a new program is difficult. Both men agreed that more work needs to be done to try to find a new approach that will provide an adequate safety net for the dairy industry.