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GOP Ag Senators Fire Farm Bill Shot Across the Bow

GOP Ag Senators fired ‘a shot across the bow’ in their farm bill dispute with Democratic Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow.

The GOP Senators led by North Dakota’s John Hoeven flatly rejected Chair Stabenow’s proposal to make producers choose between commodity supports ARC and PLC, and crop insurance. Hoeven and top Ag Republican John Boozman (R-AR) held a press conference armed with charts listing some two-dozen farm groups that support their “FARMER Act” to boost crop insurance support levels–and not force a choice with ARC and PLC.

Hoeven said, “Senator Stabenow’s put forward a product, now we’ve put forward a product. That’s who supports our product. Now let’s figure out what we should do. I think we’ve laid it out, I think it’s cost-effective, I think it’s the number one risk management tool…and I don’t know how in the world we’re going to get a farm bill passed, if we don’t get the support of all these groups.”

Senator Boozman argued boosting crop insurance should not come at the expense of updating PLC and ARC reference prices. Boozman said, “The programs that we’re doing right now aren’t working for farmers. So, they’re trying to make the decision whether or not they’re going to stay in the business. Right now, the return on investment is about 2-percent when you discount the land.”

When you discount the land. Hoeven and the GOP say there must be more farm in the farm bill and better crop insurance coverage is a cost-effective answer. Hoeven said, “In a 1.5 trillion-dollar baseline, when SNAP is doubling from 625 billion to 1.25 trillion, this cost 4.2 billion.” All, ten-year figures, with a proposed 8-to-10 percentage point boost in crop insurance supports.

Ag Chair Stabenow agrees that crop insurance is effective, but refuses to part with SNAP dollars to boost crop insurance and reference prices.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Berns Bureau Washington/by Matt Kaye

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