The American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors today voted in support of the farm bill proposal issued late last week by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). According to AFBF, the proposal, or chairman’s mark, provides a strong safety net for producers while providing funding for critical conservation, rural development, nutrition, and energy programs.

“Farm Bureau, like Congress, must balance the interests of all sectors of American agriculture,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Farm Bureau is cognizant of that fact and it thinks the chairman’s mark represents the largest measure of fairness to various interests represented in the bill.”

According to AFBF, the chairman’s mark contains critical components for the future farm bill, which include: maintaining baseline funding for both the commodity and conservation titles; reauthorizing each of the three safety net components (direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and loan payments); keeping loan rates counter-cyclical and direct payments in accordance to the 2002 farm bill; and increasing funding for conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

While Farm Bureau was pleased there are no cuts to payment limits in the proposal, the organization will watch the debate closely in the future.

“We recognize that the farm bill debate is far from over and that changes are likely in the coming weeks,” said Stallman. “Farm Bureau will be particularly watchful of changes to payment limitations and adjusted gross income caps.”

Farm Bureau will continue working with both the House and Senate to write a strong, balanced farm bill that complies with current budget constraints while meeting the needs of farmers and ranchers.

Source: American Farm Bureau Federation press release