Paul Taylor, a farmer from Esmond, IL, and President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, released this statement regarding Congress’ extension of the 2008 Farm Bill as a component of the fiscal-cliff budget package.
“The Illinois Corn Growers Association appreciates the nine-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill because it’s better than no action at all. Our appreciation is tempered, however, against the frustration that the work in which our corn farmer-members invested to pass a five-year bill was effectively tossed out the window.
The plan we supported would have saved the federal budget more than $20 billion over the next ten years while ending taxpayer funded direct payments that are made regardless of farm income in a given year.
Those direct payments are now on the books for 2013 and are widely recognized as a boon to the southern state agricultural interests. Those same interests will no doubt seek to maintain of direct payments in any newly-crafted legislation in 2013, regardless of need and budgetary impact.
It is not acceptable to walk away from the extension as though it solves the problem. The 113 th Congress must take up the serious task of re-building new farm legislation, leaving the farmer-prioritized crop insurance program intact, as the plan approved by the Senate in 2012 would have done. Crop insurance is a public-private partnership in which farmers share the cost of the program. No year in recent memory demonstrates the need for such a program as did 2012 with its historic heat and drought.
Illinois Corn recognizes that our members of the House of Representatives responded to our needs with this farm bill extension. We now hope that they’ll be active catalysts in building a 2013 Farm Bill that provides budgetary reform while supporting the crop insurance program which is the ‘safety-net’ for farm families here in Illinois and across the country.”