The National Corn Growers Association held a news conference with Congressman Bobby Schilling (Rep.- Ill.) at the Farm Progress Show Tuesday in Decatur, Ill., highlighting preparations for the 2012 farm bill in light of the looming debt crisis. NCGA also focused on the top priorities for corn farmers regarding the need for a substantive safety net in today’s volatile economic environment.
“The Farm Progress Show is an awesome showcase of some of the best that American agriculture has to offer,” Congressman Bobby Schilling said. “As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, which will be tasked with writing a new farm bill, I highly value this opportunity to witness the advances in technology that farmers use to feed our country and the world.”
Expressing gratitude for the House member’s participation, NCGA leadership explained the importance of public-private partnership crop insurance programs and the role these tools play in ensuring a stable, abundant supply of food, feed, fuel and fiber.
“We are honored to participate in an event with Congressman Schilling at the Farm Progress Show to discuss one of the most important pieces of legislation to America’s farmers,” said NCGA First Vice President Garry Niemeyer, farmer from Auburn, Ill. “The farm bill provides critical assistance to farmers when they face a loss due to adverse weather conditions, crop disease and volatile commodity markets. As Congress begins preparations for the 2012 farm bill, we want to make sure they understand the importance of effective risk management tools for our nation’s farmers that will have the ability to protect against revenue losses due to circumstances beyond our control.”
NCGA’s highest policy objective for the next farm bill is development of an effective, affordable crop insurance program. To improve existing programs, NCGA advocates that the Risk Management Agency implement recommendations of an independent review team that would result in premiums better reflecting the losses that have been experienced over the past decade.
Noting that the rating methodology currently used by the Risk Management Agency needs to more fully account for corn’s reduced yield variability, yield trend increases and appropriately weight crop years, NCGA stressed that, without the aforementioned changes, the program’s effectiveness in protecting corn farmers against crop and revenue loss will further decline.
As crop insurance does still leave gaps in the farm safety net, NCGA also supports for revenue-based programs, such as the Average Crop Revenue Election Program, which helps fill said holes. Explaining that the organization is currently looking at ways to improve the existing ACRE Program and transition away from direct payments, the group stressed that their members seek to achieve a system in which farmers will only receive assistance when facing a loss.
Finally, Niemeyer emphasized that, in all instances, they are focused on the simplification and more rapid delivery of assistance when it is needed.
Over the past 30 years, agriculture has made great strides in sustainability which help farmers feed an ever-growing world population. Both NCGA and Schilling highlighted how farm programs respect the important role agriculture plays in our society.
“Agriculture supports jobs and provides a lifeline to our economy,” Schilling said. “Our farmers, producers and businesses need certainty from the government so that they can focus on doing what they do best. Their success is America’s success. I look forward to participating in the Farm Progress Show in Decatur as well as listening to the input from constituents in the 17th District of Illinois as Congress prepares to write a new farm policy.”