More Farm Bill Hurdles

New farm bill policy disagreements on top of spending bills and other fights are adding more hurdles to passing a farm bill this year.

Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) alluded to her proposal in a recent interview, to help farmers without pulling funds from feeding or climate programs key for Democrats.

But it would direct funds away from ARC and PLC reference prices to crop insurance. Stabenow says, “We have over 130 different crops that use crop insurance extremely effectively, and it’s paid out immediately when there’s a disaster. We have 22 crops that utilize the commodity title, ARC and PLC, also important. But it’s delayed in the payout, usually by a year.”

Driving her point further, Stabenow says many PLC crops already benefit from reference price ‘accelerators’ in the ’18 farm bill. Stabenow says, “If we only continue current law, over half the commodities that get PLC, will see a ten to 15-percent increase, currently. And so, to me, we should be focusing on those who aren’t.”

Politico later reported Stabenow’s plan would force producers who want to enroll in the new crop insurance offering to opt out ARC and PLC. Top Ag Republican John Boozman (R-AR) told the paper his staff’s looking at the idea, but other Republicans and some Democrats are not thrilled with forcing farmers to choose.

The American Farm Bureau continues to argue for both an increase in reference price support triggers and crop insurance improvements.

Story via NAFB News Service, (Berns Bureau Washington/by Matt Kaye)

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