Farm Bill News

Farmland Prices Skyrocket and Federal Crop Revenue Insurance Plays a Role

Have you heard the news? Farmland values continue to escalate at alarming rates. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t catch you by surprise.

The Ag Letter, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, showed a 16 percent increase in farmland values in 2012 for the district. Their district includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Iowa saw the highest increase, a 20 percent gain from Jan 2012 to Jan 2013.

Sodsaver Bill Introduced in Senate

Last week, Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar lead a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would modify crop insurance premium subsidies for insured crops grown on native sod converted to cropland.

Food, Farms, Jobs and Economic Growth

Recently, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The sponsors worked diligently to write commonsense legislation that addresses the infrastructure challenges and informational barriers that family farmers and ranchers face in their efforts to develop local and regional food systems.

Responsible Approach Needed for Subsidized Crop Insurance

Federally subsidized crop insurance has become the primary farm program. It needs some changes to be good for family farms and conservation. It must also be fiscally responsible to leave room in the federal budget for other farm and small-town priorities.

Federal crop insurance’s magnitude was underscored by a Farm Credit Services study. It showed that $4.5 billion in 2012 crop insurance indemnities to farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming saved about 21,000 jobs. Those payments kept farm income at the second highest level ever in spite of record drought.

Farmer Fly-In Offers Congressional Leaders Input on Farm Bill

Farmers and rural leaders headed to Washington, DC in March to lobby on the Farm Bill. Congress was finalizing its spending bills, so it was a good time get their ear.

William Powers, a farmer and executive director of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, urged legislators to restore funding in critical programs that invest in beginning farmers and ranchers.

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