As ongoing drought grips much of the west and Midwest, farmers and ranchers are utilizing farm bill programs to ensure they’re acting as stewards of the land. Megan Richner, a farmer in Missouri, which has been one of the driest spots in the country, says the farm bill’s conservation programs have positively impacted her operation and kept them in business.
She says, “Really, those conservation programs in the Farm Bill saved our farm during this drought that we’re experiencing. If it wasn’t for those, we’d be in pretty bad shape on our farm. We have not had to sell any cows. We’ve had some land, we’ve had some grass, and really our land and grass would be in much worse condition if we would not have started using these conservation programs back in 2014.”
Richner says Congress can’t wait until next year to pass a farm bill. “Due to the uncertainty in agriculture, whether it’s an uncertainty in markets, whether it’s the uncertainty of weather across the United States,” says Richner. “Certainly, for us, the Farm Bill has been a safety net. It allows farmers like us to weather the storm and help us continue to grow food for our communities, whether it’s crops or, in our case, producing beef, still able to do that because of the farm bill and the programs that it provides.”
She encourages farmers and ranchers to reach out to their elected officials and share their agriculture story.
Richner says, “One of the best things a farmer and rancher can do to really get the Farm Bill across the finish line this year is just pick up the phone and have a conversation with your legislators or their staff. How’s the Farm Bill impacted your farm? They say a picture’s worth 1,000 words, show them those pictures. Tell them your story.”
For more information on how to interact with your elected officials, go to fb.org/farmbill.