Concerned by rising production costs and the longevity of sky-high commodity prices, farm-state lawmakers floated margin protection for crop growers and standby farm disaster programs on Thursday for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill. However, farm bill funding may be tight, which could limit Congress’ ability to add new features to the farm program.
As lawmakers gather ideas for the 2018 farm bill, the two largest U.S. farm groups say one thing is clear: it's not the time to reduce funding for the bill and its vast array of USDA activities, from crop supports to food stamps. Commodity prices have been in a trough since 2013, so "many of America's farmers and ranchers are struggling," says the American Farm Bureau Federation, while the National Farmers Union said the drop in farm income threatens the survival of beginning farmers.
Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is hours away from becoming U.S. agriculture secretary, with the Senate expected to confirm the nomination by a solid majority this evening. Perdue will enter the job on a tide of goodwill and risks inundation by a flood of issues from budget cuts and agricultural trade to expanded subsidies for cotton and dairy producers.
Despite the strong foundation of the farm sector, "it is clear financial stress is increasing and some producers are more exposed to financial risk," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Senate testimony that balanced concern with falling farm income with a valedictory list of the administration's eight-year record in agriculture.
Good times or bad, milk production seems to go only one direction in the United States — up, which it is doing for the third year in a row despite a tumble in market prices. Economist Scott Brown says if the industry is unable to cut output, the only solution to excess milk supplies will be larger domestic and export demand.
The 2014 farm law created a new, insurance-style support program for dairy farmers, based on the difference between milk prices and the cost of feed for milk cows, a so-called margin protection program.
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday on labeling of GMO foods. The session, "Examining FDA's role in the regulation of genetically modified food ingredients," is expected to provide a...
Dairy farmers can enroll in the new dairy support program, the insurance-like Margin Protection Program, until Dec 5, one more week than originally announced, said the Agriculture Department.
The government announced a new approach to supporting dairy farmers, with enrollment to begin on Tuesday and conclude on Nov 28.