A Kansas lawmaker is asking for his colleagues to not “rush through” a farm bill and for ag groups to come together and prioritize goals for the upcoming farm bill.

Speaking on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said he wants all of agriculture to come together to help streamline the writing of the next farm bill.

“I think the worst thing we could do is rush through this … I'm not hearing any radical changes that are necessary, but let’s be careful,” he said. “I'm a physician — I’ve learned not to rush through the diagnosis part of the work-up.”

Marshall says he doesn't expect the next farm bill will need “radical change” but there is “always room for improvement.”

Congress is due to write a new farm bill in 2023; some of the provisions in the 2018 law expire as soon as Sept. 30, 2023. 

Several farm groups have already signaled their desire for more support in the farm safety net, including through higher reference prices under the Price Loss Coverage program. Under that program, payments are triggered when market prices trade below a set reference price. Market prices have been above those prices in recent years, limiting the program's payout for producers.

Marshall, who was a member of the House Ag Committee during deliberations for the 2018 farm bill, believes the PLC price point will be a big issue to work through as producers have been challenged by “the price of fertilizer, inflation, interest rates” and increasing commodity prices.

Marshall is asking for agriculture groups to work together to come to a consensus on priorities that way lawmakers have a better idea of where to allocate money.

“Let’s figure out what our priorities are and how much money we have to work out, and I think this is where the local Farm Bureaus, the wheat associations, all these different associations have to come together,” said Marshall.

Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, spoke on this week’s panel and pointed to a challenge facing Democrats on the House Ag Committee: finding members who have an interest in both farm programs and nutrition programs.

“When the Democrats were in control, we saw more and more members more interested in the SNAP title than a lot of the farm bill programs,” said Goule, himself a former House Ag Democratic staffer.

He says as House Democrats begin selecting committee members, party leadership should make sure there is a “good balance of representatives that are interested in farm bills, in rural America and other key initiatives that the ag committee has jurisdiction over” while also sharing the interests in the nutrition title.

Matt Valesko of the Conaway Graves Group and Mary-Thomas Hart of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association were also on this week’s show to discuss disaster programs and the Waters of the U.S. rule.

You can watch this week’s show on Agri-Pulse.com

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