Recent data indicate that the Chinese population now eats more than 25 percent of the world’s supply of meat. By volume, more meat is consumed in China than in the United States. This news means that two areas of Illinois corn checkoff investment are relevant and right on-track. But without a farm bill, where do we stand?
The farm bill does more than just set the commodity program, conservation, crop insurance, and provide for food stamps (SNAP) and other nutritional assistance. It also funds programs through the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs. The Illinois Corn Marketing Board invests your corn checkoff dollars with partners like the US Grains Council, US Meat Export Federation, and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council to do things, like, well, increase demand for corn and meat consumption in places like China.
Those organizations then leverage your investment to gain access to federal funds through the FMD and MAP programs. FMD program funding expired on September 31 and the MAP funding expires December 31. That means that you’re losing some oomph in the world’s market. That’s right; the salesman knocking at the Chinese buyer’s door might not be there, allowing countries like Brazil and Argentina to get their foot in the door.
So, when you see headlines such as this: ‘China now eats ¼ of the world’s meat,’ you can thank your corn checkoff. But without a new farm bill, you won’t be able to thank Washington.
It’s past time for a Farm Bill Now. Where does your candidate stand on passing a Farm Bill immediately upon his/her return to Congress?