The Senate Ag Committee heard testimony this week from several economists on the challenges that currently exist in farm country. The Hagstrom Report says Republican Ag Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan both came to the same conclusion: no more cuts for farm bill programs. At what he described as the first farm bill hearing in Washington, Roberts did say the nation’s debt is approaching $20 trillion. However, he said between the savings from the last farm bill and the Ag Department’s crop insurance negotiation, “everyone on this committee thinks agriculture has already given at the store.” Roberts emphasized the importance of producers having risk management tools at their disposal. “Let me emphasize that crop insurance is the most valuable tool in the risk management toolbox,” he said. Stabenow focused more on the proposed Trump budget released earlier this week, saying, “It cuts crop insurance by $29 billion which would take away a critical part of the farm safety net when it’s needed most.” A panel of economists and Ag business members testified that economic conditions for farmers and ranchers continue to get worse, but it’s still not as bad as the farm crisis of the 1980s.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.