What should be included in the Farm Bill?

(Chandler Goule) I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with sorghum and corn and talk about the importance of the Farm Bill and how important its going to be that we work together on the Farm Bill. We need to be working together in Washington DC for all the commodity groups and the conservation groups, the nutrition groups so that we can get a comprehensive Farm Bill done before it expires on September 30th, 2018. It’d even be better if we get it done before that. But working together to bring this Farm Bill to a close and making sure that we’ve got everything we need : title one, conservation and crop insurance. (David Schemm) I really appreciate the current political climate in Washington. Obviously with an administration change, we’re looking forward to new approaches and new ways to doing things. We are also trying to get feedback and a feel for what their approach and what their ideas are. It is also very good today to hear them talk a lot about the commodities working together within the Farm Bill as we do look at it and also the nutrition side of it. I think that’s a story that we all realize but I think they did a very good job today of articulating it. (Chandler) Well, a lot of people don’t know and I think it’s a statistic that we need to be demonstrating more that it’s not only one in six in urban areas that qualify for some type of food assistance, it’s is also one in six in rural areas and a lot of people don’t know that statistic, which that means that there’s probably somebody in your church, there’s definitely someone in your grocery store, there are definitely people in your small rural town that are using some type of nutritional assistance predominately probably from the Farm Bill and when you look at the US Census data, there’s only 41 districts in the United States in the House of Representatives that can be actually classified as rural and it takes 218 votes to pass a Farm Bill and so without the nutrition community feeling that they’ve gotten everything they need in the Farm Bill, there is no way for us to pass a Farm Bill out of the House of Representatives and the Senate at the same time to get it to the president for to be signed into law. The relationship between the farm side and the conservation side of the Farm Bill and the nutrition side is an extremely important relationship and then we need to make sure that we maintain, if not, make better. (David) Especially my area in the western part of the state where when we do get hit by a drought that suddenly there is just not simply income on these operations out there and without that crop insurance part of the Farm Bill, that money to be able to pay the bills and to keep your operation afloat for the next year becomes very critical to these businesses because truly what I have observed within my own community is they simply are staying afloat to the next year too. There’s an example given today and I thought it was just an absolutely apt example by one of our panels up front there that because people will sometimes make the comment that are not knowledgeable, well the government doesn’t help pay my car insurance, and the comment that was made today on the panel that was very apropos is the aspect, yes., but on the other hand, not all of Chicago cars wreck at the same time and that very well can happen within an ag community as you can have an entire region or even state or beyond multi-state area that gets hit by devastating environment things that happen to them, whether it’s a hailstorm or drought or floods that can really devastate them and nobody can handle that type of crop insurance other than the federal government. They’re in the best position to handle it and they can buffer that and I think that’s a very good message we can take out there to those people that our US government is the one most best positioned to handle that and truly it’s in the nation’s best interest as was mentioned by a couple of people out there in the audience today that it is in the nation’s best interest to have that safe food supply. (Chandler) I can’t emphasize this enough , when we send out an action alert from the National Association of Wheat Growers to our members, it is vitally important that you contact your Congressman and Senator with whatever the issue may be, maybe we think that the conservation title is not getting enough attention, maybe it’s because ARC and PLC are not having enough money put into them, maybe we need them to go talk to another member of Congress, an urban member who has a good relationship with them. But that farmer and rancher constituent going to their congressman and senator has a lot more influence than your DC representatives. I’m not trying to talk ourselves out of jobs but you do need someone in Washington to keep an eye on everything and we do carry your message to the congressmen and senators. But you as the farmer and rancher, as a constituent, hold the most power with that member.

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