Farm Bill Previewed at Washington, D.C. Forum

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported on Wednesday that, “The coming of a new presidential administration, particularly one expected to stand the status quo on its head as is the Trump administration, has many groups pondering what change might be coming to their corner of the world.

Ag policy and farm bill creators are no exception. Speakers representing think tanks, environmental and agriculture groups on a Farm Foundation panel in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, seemed to agree new political and economic realities will dictate where farm policy goes.

“Chuck Conner, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, told the panel’s audience that rural America’s voice in the presidential election showed how much influence those voters can have and likely will wield on members of Congress.”

The DTN article noted: “‘Farmers and ranchers feel like they have been under attack,’ Conner said.”

Mr. Neeley explained that, “Though environmental interests including the Environmental Working Group [EWG] and think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation [Heritage] are pushing to play a bigger role in shaping conservation provisions and in reforming current farm programs, Conner said they may take a back seat in the new administration.

“‘I don’t expect other groups to have a big impact on the farm bill because of grassroots involvement,’ said Conner, who also will be a featured speaker at DTN’s Ag Summit next week in Chicago.”

The DTN item also pointed out that, “Both groups [EWG, Heritage] question the need for revenue insurance programs including those for shallow revenue losses.

“In addition, both organizations have pushed for separating the farm programs from nutrition programs. The thought is doing so would encourage Congress to make reforms to farm programs.

“However, an attempt to separate the two died in the lead up to the passage of the 2014 farm bill. Conner said he believes they will stay together as part of the next farm bill, though he questioned the wisdom of talking about particulars at this early stage in the game.”

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