Many in agriculture are urging Congress to pass a new farm bill before the end of the year. Wisconsin Farmers Union president Darin Von Ruden says he knows the fiscal cliff is the top priority in Congress right now but he hopes they will get that taken care of and still have time to deal with the farm bill.
There are differences between the version passed by the Senate and the version awaiting action in the House. For one, Von Ruden is concerned that the House version does not tie conservation practices to farm program, insurance subsidies or disaster payments. He feels there should be some type of tie-in because “when corn prices are higher it’s easier for farmers to forget about those practices” and that could lead to increased soil erosion. Von Ruden says the higher corn and soybean prices have prompted farmers to move away from some conservation practices. He notes that some of the support for the farm bill in Congress is from the conservation provisions.
The Wisconsin dairy farmer would also like to see some changes made to the Dairy Security Act in the pending legislation; he likes the supply management provision but says it needs to be fine-tuned. He would also like to see the federal milk marketing order system reformed.
Von Ruden says it is important for farmers and all consumers to contact their Congressional representatives and push them to get the farm bill passed before the end of the year.