A House Agriculture Committee Republican wants the commodity programs in the next farm bill to reflect the current economic situation for producers.
Speaking on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Rep. Rick Crawford, R- Ark., said inflation and commodity prices have affected profit margins for farmers.
“For example, in the Price Loss Coverage program, we're dealing with a cost model that reflects 2012 production costs; it wasn't indexed,” Crawford said. “So, therefore now in 2022, 10 years later, we're behind the eight ball on those programs, and so I think you're going to have to bring that into current levels and then index it.”
Created in the 2014 farm bill, the Price Loss Coverage program issues payments when the average annual price for a commodity falls below certain reference prices. Several farm groups have expressed an interest in increasing PLC reference prices through the upcoming farm bill, but such a move would require additional spending in the bill's commodity title.
Crawford said it's "too early to speculate" about using money previously allocated in different titles — namely conservation or nutrition — to beef up commodity program supports. Instead, he argued some programs — particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — could be due for a discussion about "adequate funding" across the titles.
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“What we don't want to do is make (nutrition programs) more attractive to people than going out and being employed and being a productive part of the economy,” Crawford said. He continued, “But we also recognize that there's a need out there to help folks.”
Newsmaker panelist and Michael Torrey Associates Vice President Barbara Patterson said although she believes SNAP and other nutrition programs will be evaluated in the upcoming year, she does not expect to see radical shifts in this legislation.
“I think SNAP is going to be another area of a lot of debate and consideration over the next year or so,” Patterson said. “Particularly, we're hearing a lot more around work requirements coming up again.”
Other Newsmaker panelists included Western Growers Vice President of Federal Government Affairs Dennis Nuxoll and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Senior Director of Public Policy RJ Karney.
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