NCFC's Conner looks ahead as farm bill advances

By Kristin Merony

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2012 - The Senate 2012 Farm Bill amendment process included “some good votes and some bad votes” yesterday for the future of American agriculture, according to National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) CEO Chuck Conner at the annual NCFC Washington Conference Thursday. The Senate is expected to wrap up debate and pass the Farm Bill Thursday afternoon.  

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Conner praised the defeat of Sen. Coburn's (R-Okla.) amendment to reduce funding for the Market Access Program, calling it a “big vote for coops and other exporters around the country.”  

Strongly advocating for crop insurance program, calling it a “key term for all producers,” Conner said he is concerned about the added language to the crop insurance program.

“We feel that this added language could potentially restrict participation from producers of a certain size or larger,” he said. “We feel like that will change the risk pool and probably result in higher insurance costs for all producers.”  

“That is not the direction we want to see,” he continued. “We are hoping this can get fixed later in the process.”

When addressing the regional differences in the farm bill, Conner said, “We are happy that the farm bill process is moving along towards getting a bill done, but our southern producers are very concerned that in the House the interests of southern agriculture have to be addressed.”

“Our producers do not feel like the Senate bill provides them with the safety net that they need to withstand the ups and downs going forward,” he continued. 

Conner said that NCFC will work closely with the chairman and ranking member in the House to include changes not in the Senate-passed bill.

“We are fairly confident that we are going to get some changes in the House farm bill that will hopefully be reflected in the final product,” said Conner. 

“We need sound public policy, sound farm policy, and sound food policy in order to unleash our producers to meet the needs of the growing American agriculture industry,” he concluded.


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