Farming is already hard, physical, time-consuming work, and then the weather can just throw all that work to the wind. Extreme weather events seem to be the norm these days, and farmers are increasingly dealing with seasons that are not typical or crop friendly. Just read our post on how Rogue Farms lost 100 acres of Risk malting barley this past season because of snow and freezing temperatures in Tygh Valley, Ore.
The same goes for commodity prices, which fluctuate with frightening volatility. Just read our story on the barley surplus in the market, causing Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors to severely downside contracts.
To offset these daunting challenges, farmers are relying more and more on insurance and other safety provisions to save their asses when the weather, natural disasters or market fluctuations ruin a year-plus of work. The Farm Bill is an omnibus, multi-year law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs on a federal level, including safety net and risk management initiatives for agriculture operations. The Trump administration wants to cut money from some of those insurance-oriented farm programs in the 2018 budget, which was proposed in more detail last week. In fact, that budget aims to cut a possible $29 billion worth of federal crop insurance programs in the next decade.
That’s fucked — so says the farmers of America. You should be saying the same thing. A happy, productive and protected farm industry is only going to benefit the U.S. craft brewing industry. The National Association of Wheat Growers said it best. NAWG President David Schemm made the following statement:
“NAWG understands the administration is facing pressure to reduce spending and lower the national debt. However, proposing cuts to crop insurance and weakening the Farm Bill is not the right approach. Proposing significant restrictions on crop insurance, commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition and economic development programs is short-sighted and ignores the needs of rural America.
“The 2014 Farm Bill is estimated to reduced spending by $23 billion over ten years, at the time of passage. Further, the Congressional Budget Office’s 2017 baseline estimates that the 2014 Farm Bill costs far less than projected and is going to save the federal government $100 billion.
“The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs offer a safety net to producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues. Recent events such as the late season blizzard in the Midwest, proves that these programs are working and need to be upheld in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Any reduction in the discount for crop insurance will increase the cost of crop insurance to farmers. As commodity prices decline and farmers’ budgets tighten, an increase in the cost of crop insurance is only more likely to result in less participation and higher premiums for all farmers.
“In the trade title, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) are two government programs that have proven to have tremendous return on investment and yet funding for these programs has eroded. MAP and FMD strengthen export market development, meriting an increase in federal funding, not elimination as proposed in this budget request.
“The rural vote was a key factor in the last election. Budget proposals should support rural America and U.S. farmers but this current budget misses that mark. NAWG will actively work to make sure these proposals aren’t enacted by Congress.”