U.S. farmers call on Congress to not harm the farm bill

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More than 30 agriculture groups are calling on Congress to oppose any amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would undo the careful compromises of the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill, including the important risk management tools provided through the federal crop insurance program.

The Farm Bill was enacted into law only four months ago and most of its provisions have yet to be implemented. The Farm Bill was the subject of a long and intense debate, beginning with hearings in 2010. In fact, 40 hearings were held in all.

During the House floor debate over the Farm Bill, various amendments seeking still further cuts and changes to the Farm Bill and the crop insurance program were considered.  Some of those amendments were adopted and, ultimately, incorporated into the conference report while other amendments were rejected by the House.

"This protracted process created a great deal of uncertainty in rural America. Quite frankly, significant uncertainty remains due to the substantial reforms and budget reductions made by the Farm Bill," the letter states. "Congress must respect the importance of these decisions and allow the reforms included in the 2014 Farm Bill to achieve their full effect."

These same concerns were the subject of a recent Farm Policy Facts commentary.

"America's farmers and ranchers shouldn't also have to wrestle with Washington for a fourth year in a row over a Farm Bill that’s just been passed and signed into law," FPF stated in the editorial.

The organizations note in their letter to lawmakers that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a more than 30 percent reduction in the funding of the Commodity Title during debate over the Farm Bill but increased expected savings by about $3 billion in its updated forecast announced this past April.

These budget savings are in addition to the approximately $17 billion in legislative and administrative reductions made to crop insurance over the past seven years.

"There are a great many issues outside of the Farm Bill that are creating anxiety in rural America, crossing the gambit from tax, trade, regulatory issues and access to a stable workforce to market and weather conditions. … Given these circumstances, we urge you to oppose amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would harm the Farm Bill or crop insurance," the letter concludes.

To view the letter in its entirety, click here.

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