Republican House Ag Committee member Jim Baird (IN-04) held a farm policy and Farm Bill 2023 roundtable discussion in Boone County Thursday morning. With him was a special guest, Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), Ranking Member of the House Ag Committee.
Thompson says this is about the 29th state he’s been in over the past year or so gathering info for the next Farm Bill.
“I know how important this is,” he told HAT following the event. “We need to bring voices of from the state of Indiana and all across the country to the farm bill process, so I’ve been engaged, when I’m not Washington and not working my congressional district, not ignoring the people at home, I’m doing my perpetual barnstorming tour of American agriculture.”
A consistent theme he’s heard from farmers and farm groups everywhere, including in Indiana Thursday, is how important crop insurance is and that it needs to remain intact. He says crop insurance is one of the items that gets attacked by members of Congress each time a Farm Bill comes up.
“I think it’s ignorance. There are those who just don’t understand it. Crop insurance is not like buying fire insurance. If you suffer a devastating loss, if your house burns down, fire insurance, by and large, is going to rebuild your house. That’s not crop insurance. Crop insurance is a public/private partnership. Farmers have skin in the game; they make an investment. It’s really trying to deal with weather… Weather has a huge impact on agriculture, probably more than any other industry.”
Thompson and his colleagues are trying to clear up that confusion.
“A couple years ago, probably 4 years ago, we formed a crop insurance caucus. That’s where we use that to educate both members and their staff on what the realities are of crop insurance. It’s a public/private partnership. I expect, as we go through this next Farm Bill process in 2023, there will be some amendments that will try to attack crop insurance, but, as I like to say, I don’t like a fair fight. So, that’s my approach. We’re working to proactively educate members of Congress and their staff about just how successful this program is and how important it is.”
Both the Senate and House ag committees have traditionally been known to be very bipartisan, but concerns have surfaced recently indicating that may no longer be the case. Asked if politics will get in the way of this Farm Bill, Thompson says, “I hope not.”
“The agriculture committee continues to be very bipartisan. Now, we’ve had our moments the past little over a year. The two budget reconciliation bills that were imposed upon the committee, really by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership, were awful. It was the first time I’ve really seen the insertion of partisan politics into the agriculture committee. But it didn’t come from the members on the committee, it didn’t come from the staff, it came from the democratic leadership.”
Hear the full HAT interviews with Thompson and Baird below.
Farm Bill discussion with House Ag Committee Ranking Member GT Thompson:
Farm Bill discussion with House Ag Committee member Jim Baird: