Farm Bill Hearings Continue in Illinois

As part of their ongoing efforts to rush the 2012 Farm Bill through Congress, several members of the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing, the second of four currently planned, to address food and fuel production.

The hearing is the latest congressional attempt to push the farm bill through the House and Senate before the end of September. The current farm bill expires on September 30. Given the heated political infighting between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and the upcoming presidential election, many farmers are worried that a new bill won’t be passed.

Of particular importance, farmers and politicians emphasized, was passing a new five-year bill that will adequately guide farm policy. Given the possibility of the current farm bill’s expiration, some politicians have suggested a temporary renewal of current agricultural legislation. House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas claimed that only a five-year bill could offer farmers the risk management that they need to continue their sustainable growth.

In addition, representatives stressed the importance of strengthening crop insurance programs. While they acknowledged the current high commodity prices, government support is still vital to many farmers. According to an Ohio farmer, “We need an insurance program that’s affordable to all crop producers across the U.S. Commodity markets are cyclical and our self-produced food is a national asset.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer