The top news story this week has been the new 118th Congress – and the battle among Republicans to fill the House Speaker position. However, as the new Congress convenes, there are concerns about the direction of this year’s federal farm bill, which is set to expire in late September.
“The major push is to make sure that our farmers are made whole with crop insurance. That is the number one key that our farmers are pushing for,” says Bradley Schad, CEO of Missouri Corn (shown above) – which is part of the National Corn Growers Association.
Schad says his organization and other farm groups are pushing lawmakers to keep them from taking money away from crop insurance programs.
“They cannot tinker with that,” says Schad. “That is the most important thing that our farmers use to make sure that they can be made whole because we’re dealing with weather and we have no control over that. It’s out of anybody’s hands. We have to make sure that the crop insurance stays intact – at least at its current level.”
“There are going to be people that try and take money away from that, but I feel pretty confident that we’ve got enough of a coalition and it’s important for food security reasons to make sure that that is made whole,” says Schad.
He says another key component of this year’s farm bill is the Foreign Market Development Program.
“That gives us opportunities to export our corn overseas,” Schad says. “We have offices around the world with our partners with the U.S. Grains Council. That funding is very important. We need that to expand because of all the trade issues that are going on. We’re also looking at conservation programs making sure that we’re environmentally sustainable and making sure that we have the ability to use those programs to better our environmental footprint across the board.”
Schad recommends that every farmer get involved so that lawmakers understand what’s at stake with this year’s legislation.
“Reach out to your membership associations and make sure that you’re part of that,” says Schad. “They have contacts out in Washington, D.C. who they’re talking with regularly. If you have a personal relationship with your U.S. Senator or Representative, reach out to them and make sure that they know how important this farm bill is and getting that passed. The more voices we have together, the better off we’re going to be.”