Farm Bureau and 500 other groups urge stable farm bill funding

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 500 other groups are pushing for funding to not be cut in the 2018 farm bill.  The organizations sent a letter saying cuts would hinder development and passage of the bill.  American Farm Bureau Congressional Relations Director Mary Kay Thatcher tells Brownfield that crop insurance will be in the funding crosshairs during farm bill debate.

“I think it’s there because it is costing more money than are the commodity programs or the conservation programs,” Thatcher told Brownfield Ag News Wednesday, “but it is the safety net that the vast majority of people think is the most important thing out there; not the only thing, but the most important.”

The groups point out that reduced spending under the 2014 farm bill contributed to deficit reduction.  Thatcher says better farm income while that measure was debated made it hard to motivate farmers to call and lobby congressmen, but she says that is not the case this time.

From the farmer perspective, I have a farm in Iowa, I’m not very happy about low prices,” said Thatcher, “but from an inside the beltway lobbyist perspective, low prices drive farmers to be more involved and Congress to be more sympathetic.”

Groups signing the letter represent constituents ranging from agriculture and nutrition assistance to rural development, conservation and local governments.

AUDIO: Mary Kay Thatcher (6 min. MP3)

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