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Ag Lawmakers Press Farm Bill Priorities

Ag lawmakers pressed for their farm bill priorities at a “Members’ Day” House Ag hearing last week. Lower crop insurance premiums, pesticide labeling reforms, and support for cover cropping were among the lawmakers’ farm bill asks.

Chicago area Representative Sean Casten says his bipartisan ‘COVER’ bill would build on a successful pandemic cover crop program.

Casten says, “By incentivizing the planting of cover crops on a voluntary basis, by providing farmers with five dollars per acre of crop insurance discounts for every acre that they plant into cover crops. In 2018, Iowa implemented a very similar program. It was hugely successful and over-subsidized. My state copied it in Illinois. It since has been copied in Indiana and Wisconsin.”

Casten pointed to a study this year that found more cover cropping led to lower crop insurance losses–as much as $40 million in savings for every one percent boost in cover crops. That is by improving soil health and trapping carbon in the soil.

Minnesota’s Michelle Fischbach called for direct support for crop insurance to get away from inefficient, deficit-ridden ad hoc disaster aid.Cut #2 :18 OC…”the country.” :

Fischbach says, “Crop insurance has proven to be a bedrock risk management tool. And while I appreciate the fiscal constraints on this committee, I firmly believe an opportunity exists to build on the program’s success by making higher coverage levels more affordable to producers across the country.”

Separately, Texas’ Chip Roy joined Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley in calling on House and Senate leaders to include in the farm bill SNAP and CCC spending reforms and controls on foreign ownership of U.S. farmland.

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