Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, made statements during the committee’s farm bill hearing this week that confirm her understanding of and support for IL Corn farmers’ priorities for the next farm bill. She mentioned crop insurance as being the top issue for farmer constituents in her district. Bustos is one of three House members from Illinois on the committee.
“I want a strong Farm Bill. Our growers and producers want a strong Farm Bill. Our Ag economy needs a strong Farm Bill,” the Congresswoman said in her opening statement. “As I travel around my congressional district, the number one ask from of our farmers is to leave existing crop insurance in place. ‘Just don’t mess with it,’ they tell me. When all producers are facing tighter market conditions and a worsening farm economy, this bill seems to help some growers—and not others. In a down turn, we should not be limiting new risk management tools for producers.”
The Congresswoman expressed concern regarding some cuts to programs that traditionally have been valuable to Illinois farmers. “Changes in Marketing Assistance Loans, yield updates, and placing new limits on using crop insurance and ARC together—limits that could impact Illinois’ growers. Once again leaving out farmers in my district,” Bustos said.
Early reviews of the proposed legislation indicate that the 10-year cost of the Committee’s proposed farm bill will be about $100 billion less than the 2014 Farm Bill. Congressional Budget Office analysis is still pending.
Under the bill passed out of committee in contrast to the 2014 edition of the Farm Bill:
- Crop insurance would be decreased by 13%
- Commodity programs would grow 38% in areas related to dairy support, minimum price guarantees, and support related to import barriers
- Conservation programs would grow 4%
- Other programs including rural development, trade, extension, research, energy, and more about be decreased by 46%
- Nutrition would be decreased by 12%