Writing of the new farm bill is once again upon us, as the current bill expires in 2023. More than ever, the need for a farm bill with responsive programs is essential. We currently have skyrocketing input costs, consumers concerned about food price inflation, supply instability due to the pandemic and a war, and market prices all over the board as speculators try to outguess trends.

NDFU, along with many other state Farmers Unions, has worked on National Farmers Union priorities for the upcoming farm bill debate. The following is a summary of those priorities:

FARM PROGRAMS

• Maintain and improve the farm safety net programs in the commodity and crop insurance titles.

• Increase loan rates and other price-based triggers to reflect higher commodity prices and input costs.

• Consider a shift in structure from revenue- based to commodity-based programs.

• Permanent disaster program

-Address ongoing challenges created by ad hoc disaster legislation and programs, including long delays in implementation and unfair targeting of support.

-Incentivize the use of sustainable/climate-smart farming practices.

-Avoid undermining existing risk management products.

-Apply appropriate eligibility and payment caps.

-Explore ways for past ad hoc disaster programs to be reflected in the farm bill budget and baseline.

• Crop insurance title

-Continue current program with additional coverages for perils.

-Make risk management products more accessible for specialty crop producers and diverse cropping systems.

-Improve Whole Farm Revenue Protection to expand its use and adoption.

COMPETITION

• Advocate for a dedicated competition title.

• Advance Fairness for Farmers priorities, including:

-Cattle market price discovery and transparency;

-Increased enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act;

-Reinstatement of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL);

-Support for local and regional food systems that increase competition and resilience.

• Reform checkoff programs to be producer controlled and regularly reviewed.

ENERGY TITLE

• Focus on support and expansion of biofuels and renewable energy usage and infrastructure.

• Continue to support the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems (including wind and solar) and energy efficiency improvements.

FURTHER CONCERNS

• Recognize the need to increase farm bill funding or baseline. 

• Urge lawmakers to support a strong nutrition title.

As NDFU works to influence the direction of the farm program, we will be looking for help from our members to push these concepts forward.

— NDFU President Mark Watne