Forum tells producers what they can expect from new Farm Bill

Farm Bill Forum informs producers on what they can expect (NTV News)

Extension professionals around Nebraska and Kansas got together on Wednesday to let producers know what they can expect from the new farm bill that is due this September.

This is the last extension Farm Bill Forum, aimed to inform producers of possible changes and show them what tools they can use to still make money if key points in the new bill affect them.

On Wednesday Nebraskans heard from Brad Lubben, a UNL Extension Policy Specialist.

Lubben said the new farm bill will be tricky to put together, keeping in mind the down economy and pressure on spending and support.

"We see producers asking for, frankly, is just the promise of stability. A program that we can depend on, a program that contributes to and provides support for producers in tight economic times like this,” said Lubbon.

Lubben said to achieve that, other areas have to be as supportive. He said it is hard to write a bill for the next five years when you cannot predict the economy.

Ag Economics Professor Art Barnaby from Kansas State University said the farm bill is also different from previous bills.

"All of the discussion was about how to improve crop insurance and get greater participation. This time around, there are a number of people that are trying to force various cuts to the crop insurance,” said Barnaby.

One of those cuts would be to larger farmers. They could propose a means test that would eliminate larger farmers from insurance premium subsidies. They have also proposed a limit on the insurance premium discount.

"Which is currently $40,000 is what they want to set it at. And once you hit that number, the question then becomes, will farmers insure their corn and leave soybeans and wheat uninsured?” said Barnaby.

If a farmer goes over the $40,000 then they would have to pay 100 percent of the premium.

The bill has much more to consider including conservation programs and food assistance. If you have a few concerns, or you would like to know more, UNL Extension urges you to get in contact with your local Extension Educator or Farm Bureau representative.

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