The four main ingredients for a successful Farm Bill

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Corn growers in Minnesota will need four ingredients in the next Farm Bill, according to testimony John Mages gave at a House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill hearing on Friday, March 23 in Galesburg, Illinois.

First, timing is crucial. Farmers need a full five-year Farm Bill this year, in order to plan for the growth in production that the world food market demands. To prosper and remain competitive in today’s global economy, farmers need a safety net in place to protect against periods of low commodity prices.

A successful farm bill will have to offer choices for the type of risk management producers prefer, according to Mages, who farms corn and soybeans in Belgrade, Minnesota. While one choice will work best for corn growers, rice and cotton growers may need a different arrangement geared towards the specifics of production and marketing those products.

Mages made a plea to “not harm crop insurance” nor to make further changes in payment limits–those limits were lowered two years ago and farmers would like to see them stay put, Mages said.

This was the second of four planned House Ag Committee Farm Bill listening sessions to take place through March and April. Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) presided with four other members of the committee in attendance. They took testimony from ten farmers who produce corn, rice, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, specialty crops and beef. 

On the Senate side, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) held Farm Bill listening sessions in nine locations across Minnesota this past week. Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

The Galesburg, Illinois listening session gathered testimony from two panels of farmers:

Panel I
Mr. David C. Erickson, corn and soybean producer, Altona, Illinois
Mrs. Deborah L. Moore, corn, soybean, and beef producer, Roseville, Illinois
Mr. John Mages, corn and soybean producer, Belgrade, Minnesota
Mr. Blake Gerard, rice, soybean, wheat, and corn producer, McClure, Illinois
Mr. Craig Adams, corn, soybean, wheat, hay, and beef producer, Leesburg, Ohio

Panel II
Mr. John Williams, sorghum, corn, wheat, and soybean producer, McLeansboro, Illinois
Mr. Gary Asay, pork, corn, and soybean producer, Osco, Illinois
Mr. Terry Davis, corn and soybean producer, Roseville, Illinois
Mr. David W. Howell, corn, soybean, pumpkin, and tomato producer, Middletown, Indiana
Ms. Jane A. Weber, specialty crop producer, Bettendorf, Iowa

The next House Ag Committee field hearing will take place Friday, April 20, 2012 at  9:00 a.m. CDT at the Magouirk Conference Center (4100 W. Comanche, Dodge City, KS 67801).

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