Farm Bureau calls for better safety net for nation?s farmers

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY STAFF
Faced with debate of a complete overhaul of the current farm program, delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting, which concluded Jan. 13, recommended policy changes to improve the safety net for American producers and ensure income assistance in a time of low prices and surplus grains.

Stan Ahlerich, Kansas Farm Bureau president, led a Farm Bureau delegation from the Sunflower State to Houston, where the farmers and ranchers spent the last five days developing policy at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting.

?Producers questioned the complete overhaul of the farm program, but they recognized the need to make changes,? Ahlerich said. ?These changes would have greatly benefited our Kansas producers during last year?s weather disasters.?

The changes include establishing a counter-cyclical income assistance provision based on revenue history to supplement the Agricultural Marketing Transition Act (AMTA) payments; establishing a tax incentive and/or low-interest loan program to assist in the construction of on-farm storage facilities and, if crop insurance is in effect, calculating loan deficiency payments based on actual production or on established yield, whichever is greater.

?Each of these changes is significant,? Ahlerich said. ?Producers have faced back-to-back world record production years. That was not the case when the new farm program was passed. These changes would help producers weather the storm of production uncertainty.?

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