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American Farm Bureau releases goals for 2018 Farm Bill

Organization wants annual cap on livestock insurance raised to $75 million

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

The American Farm Bureau Association (AFBF) is the latest U.S. farm organization to announce its goals for the 2018 Farm Bill.

AFBF outlined its goals in a letter to the congressional agriculture committee and stressed risk management programs are vital to producers.

“Because of low commodity prices, many of America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling,” Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, said in a July 14 statement. “The bill also will help protect our nation’s food security and our supply of domestic renewable energy and fiber.

“Farm Bureau stands ready to work with the House and Senate ag committees to ensure the next farm bill works for farmers, ranchers and all Americans.”

Specific AFBF goals include:

  • Increasing the $20 million annual cap on livestock insurance products to $75 million,
  • Continuing the Price Loss Coverage program and the ARC program,
  • Improving the Dairy Margin Protection Program by supporting a package that contains a variety of measures, and
  • Making ARC-CO payments using the ARC-CO payment rate for the county in which the land is located rather than the rate for the administrative county used by the farmer.

A number of other farm organizations also released their objectives for the upcoming farm bill.

Trade promotion, specialty crop block grants, animal diseases and food safety are at the top of the list for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s.

And the American Soybean Association released its 2018 farm bill priorities in March. They include:

  • Opposing a reduction in the current government subsidy levels of Federal Crop Insurance premiums,
  • Supporting the use of federal crop insurance records and/or production evidence from similar surrounding farms to update yields for federal farm programs,
  • Supporting full funding and implementation of the Conservation Stewardship Program and full funding of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

The American ag industry is anxiously waiting announcements regarding the 2018 farm bill after President Trump’s budget suggested a 21 per cent cut to USDA spending.

In March, an early version of President Trump’s first federal budget slashed USDA funding by about $4.7 billion.

And in May, the proposed budget included $28 billion worth of cuts to crop insurance over 10 years.

“There’s no sugar coating what we will face,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a May 23 statement. “USDA will likely see a significant reduction in funding by the time this process is complete.”

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