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NCGA says farm safety net programs necessary

National Corn Growers Association public policy director Sam Willett says farm and commodity organizations need to prepare to defend farm policy, especially in a budget environment clouded by $20 trillion in federal debt.

“You can’t run away from that,” Willett told Brownfield Ag News Thursday.  “Any program, whether it’s farm programs or defense programs, Medicaid or education budgets, all budgets are going to be under the spotlight.”

Responding to the Heritage Foundation’s call to get rid of the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs in the next farm bill, Willett says this year’s corn crop is priced well below the cost of production.

“This is a time, more than ever, that farmers are going to require some risk management assistance from the federal government,” said Willett.

The conservative think tank says ARC and PLC programs force taxpayers to “give handouts to large agribusinesses to address the ordinary risks of running their businesses.”

“So it’s understandable that they would maintain this position that why should farmers be treated any differently than small business owners,” he said, “except for the fact that an agriculture economy, a successful one, makes the overall economy that much more sound.”

Willett says farmers will remain under financial stress as long as prices are low and production costs do not drop correspondingly.

AUDIO: Sam Willett (11 min. MP3)

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