Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill. The proposal cuts $23 billion from farm program spending, eliminates direct payments to farmers, and makes sweeping changes in a number of conservation and commodity programs. Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock said he was pleased to see the Senate Ag Committee take action on the Farm Bill, but was not pleased with the shallow loss approach adopted as part of the government safety net. Villwock favors the deep loss approach which is designed to provide assistance to producers when they have a catastrophic loss, due to market or weather events, “In general, farmers can handle a 10% or 15% loss, but it is when they suffer something like a 50% loss that the government should be there to step in and help.”
The measure eliminates direct payments to farmers, but also left out consideration to several key crops, including popcorn, “Indiana is a major popcorn producing state, and popcorn has been included in previous Farm Bill but has been left out of the Senate plan.” Villwock said many Indiana farmers rotate corn and popcorn; and, under the current Senate Bill, when they plant popcorn it would not be included in their corn base history.
Villwock praised the committee for taking action to simplify conservation programs and for eliminating inefficiencies in nutrition and food assistance programs. The Knox County farmer told HAT that he hopes the fast track action by the Senate will spur the House Ag Committee to move ahead on their version of the 2012 farm Bill. He speculated that the House may wait for full Senate action before advancing a bill in the House Ag Committee.
Listen to the complete interview with Don Villwock on the HAT Farm Bureau news page.
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