With producers facing several more tough years financially, Congressional leaders are assuring them there will be an adequate safety net in the new Farm Bill. Indiana Farm Bureau says crop insurance is the number one priority for Hoosier farmers. Chairman of the House Ag Committee Mike Conaway sees very few changes coming to crop insurance, “Crop insurance is a vital part of the safety net we currently have in place, and I see no replacement for it in the future.” He said the program is working and the public/private partnership is an effective method of delivery.
Overall, the Texas Republican says there will be very few changes in the new Farm Bill, “We do need to address the dairy and cotton programs and perhaps a few adjustments to the county ARC payments need to be made.” He views this Farm Bill as only requiring a few adjustments and not the overhaul that was needed in the 2014 Bill.
But, finding a solution on the dairy question may be difficult. Randy Kron President of Indiana Farm Bureau says their Farm Bill task force has not found any agreement on a new dairy program, “Our task force will meet several more times this year, and we will keep trying to find consensus on dairy. So far, the only thing that has come out of our dairy group is opposition to quotas.”
Conaway says Farm Bill listening sessions will be held this summer around the country to take input. His hope is to have the bill finished on time. “It has been 16 years since we finished one of these on time, and there is no reason not to get it done,” he said. The current Bill expires on September 30, 2018.