American Farm Bureau policy decisions were driven at least to an extent by federal budget considerations, but policy passed by voting delegates this week in Nashville provides options for farmers and ranchers.
Regarding farm policy, American Farm Bureau delegates favor producers being allowed a choice of program options if a catastrophic risk program can’t be achieved. Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock explained for Brownfield Ag News what the organization is trying for.
“We came out with a lot of flexibility that will allow Farm Bureau to adjust to the debate and the discussion and be a more active player than they have been in the past,” said Villwock.
What it comes down to is the need for the often talked about farm safety net, according to Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
“We realize that farm programs can’t guarantee a profit, and they ought not to influence planting decisions that farmers make,” said Hurst during a break in the discussion. “We need to let the market guide us in our planting decisions.”
The allowance for program options in American Farm Bureau policy replaced what’s called reference price programs, commonly known as target prices, which Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill said is a matter of federal budget priorities.
“Target pricing is very expensive; we’d like to avoid that,” said Hill, Tuesday on the resolutions session floor while waiting for the next round of debate to begin. “We have priorities in crop insurance; we have priorities in conservation spending and a host of other programs that are more important.”