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Vilwock Discusses New Farm Bureau Farm Bill Plan


Vilwock Discusses New Farm Bureau Farm Bill Plan


Don Vilwock,

The board of the nation’s largest general farm organization has sent a Farm Bill proposal up to Capitol Hill.  The American Farm Bureau plan could be a big help to House and Senate agriculture committees, which are starting over writing a Farm Bill from scratch since they weren’t able to get one passed last year. Edwardsport, IN farmer Don Vilwock, President of the Indiana Farm Bureau and a member of the AFBF board of directors, told HAT a new Farm Bill plan was needed to address the new smaller budget we have in 2013 vs. 2012, “Compared to the Bill we were considering last year, $23 billion has to come out of that proposal.” He said the driving force in the Farm Bill debate this year is “The budget, the budget, the budget.”

Crop insurance remains the central part of the commodity title, but AFBF has changed its position on the farm safety net, “We did back away from the deep loss concept we had in our plan last year and moved more toward the shallow loss program that many other farm and commodity groups favored.”  He feels the plan is not perfect, but is one that Indiana farmers can live with.  The plan also calls for all commodities to take an equal share of cuts in federal support, a compromise that Vilwock said was not easy to reach, “None of the members of the board really liked the plan we voted on which I think makes it a good compromise.”


Vilwock hopes this proposal will jumpstart the Farm Bill debate and will spur Congress into taking action on farm policy.   AFBF farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher says it will still be difficult to get Congress to act on a Farm Bill, “I think it’s incredibly important that we get it done this year. We talked last year about the fact that it was going to be a whole lot more difficult, and indeed it is. We just have less money to be able to spend.”


Thatcher says getting the Farm Bill done with an adequate safety net for the nation’s farmers is good for the nation’s consumers and taxpayers, too. She stated, “Farmers and ranchers are putting in hundreds of dollars of inputs into every acre of land and they don’t know what the weather is going to be. So they have to have a good insurance program to make sure that they’re not putting in hundreds of dollars per acre investment and potentially getting nothing out of it like we had the drought that came through last year. Most people in the country will also tell you that they care where their food comes from. They’re worried is the food that they’re eating from foreign countries as safe as it is here. And unfortunately we’re only able to inspect about 1 percent of the products that come in from overseas and so we really don’t know that indeed we are ensuring that. Most consumers would like to buy local, would like to have family-sized farmers viable and in this country.”


Listen to the interview with Don Vilwock

Interview with Don Vilwock on Farm Bill Plan