Farm Bill

Congress is in the process of writing another farm bill. Political distractions are running high in Washington. But distracted or not – the current farm bill expires in September 2018.

If Congress fails to act, key farm bill initiatives that support beginning farmers, local and regional market development, and rural small businesses will come to a screeching halt. An opportunity to reform federal crop insurance and improve conservation programs also hangs in the balance. 

Our policy platform for the new farm bill stands around three pillars. 


Protect and improve farm conservation programs

Stewardship of our land and water for future generations is a core tenet of our work at the Center. Programs that support working lands conservation – soil, water, and habitat conservation on land that is also cultivated or grazed – help to steward our natural resources, while also keeping land in production to support local farms and local economies. We’ll work to retain major gains made in conservation programs in the last two farm bills, while also streamlining programs so they work better together. 

Reform commodity programs

Under current policy, the very largest farms can collect crop insurance subsidies without limit. If one operation farmed the entire state of Iowa, the federal government would subsidize their crop insurance on every single acre. That blocks beginning farmers out of the system and ensures that as the largest farms grow, they collect even more subsidies. We support a $50,000 cap on crop insurance premiums. One government report showed this cap would reduce subsidies to the largest 2.5 percent of farms, helping level the playing field for everyone else. Along with reforms to expand access and enhance conservation, we can make crop insurance work in alignment with our values and priorities. 

Protect investment in beginning farmers and entrepreneurial development

Entrepreneurial development is a proven strategy to create opportunity in rural America. A large set of programs that support entrepreneurial development, beginning farmers, local and regional market development, rural small businesses, and small towns are all set to expire at the end of the current farm bill. Extending, improving, and building on these programs is a central pillar of our policy platform and a key strategy for driving change in small towns across the nation. 

Over the course of the coming months, we will call on you to reach out to members of Congress to support specific policy proposals that align with these three pillars. Your voice in prompting members of Congress to act will be critical.

Click here to see A Farm Bill for Rural America, our 2018 farm bill platform.
Click here to see our priorities for the upcoming farm bill.
Click here to see our priorities for crop insurance.
Click here to see our priorities for conservation.

Want to learn more or get involved? Contact us at annaj@cfra.org or coraf@cfra.org, or take our short survey to let us know what you’d like to see in the upcoming farm bill.

Farm Bill Notes

 

Conservation Stewardship Program in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota

Working lands conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, provide the necessary tools for farmers and producers to maintain agricultural production on their land, simultaneously addressing resource concerns within their operations. Funding and strengthening working lands conservation programs ensure farmers and producers are supported and rewarded for their environmental stewardship.

File attachments: 

A Farm Bill for Rural America: Farm Bill Platform

The Center for Rural Affairs’ mission is to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all, while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities. To do that, we need a farm bill which helps rural America. While a great deal of this work is done on the ground and in communities, the overarching influence of the farm bill on every facet of this work cannot be ignored.

File attachments: 

Whole Farm Revenue Protection: A risk management tool for diversified farms

Daniels Produce found Whole Farm Revenue Protection to be an answer to a problem many diversified producers face: the inability to receive crop insurance coverage for a variety of crops they grow. With the help of their crop insurance agent, Daniels Produce is now able to insure all of their crops – minimizing risk and providing greater security within their farming operation.