The Senate Agriculture Committee's top Republican, John Boozman, says he will only vote in favor of a farm bill that addresses reference prices used in the Price Loss Coverage program.

“I won’t support a farm bill – I won’t vote for a farm bill – that doesn’t take care of our reference prices and our crop insurance,” the Arkansas Republican said on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers this week. 

PLC payments are triggered when market prices fall below the reference prices. The base reference prices were set in the 2014 farm bill. The 2018 farm bill added an escalator provision that allows the prices to rise based on a five-year rolling average of market prices, but the increase is capped at 15% above the base reference price. 

Boozman said he wants to see bill text by September, and he reiterated that he wants the legislation to pass by as large a margin as the 2018 law, which received 86 votes in the Senate,.

A potential complication to the bill could be the ongoing House GOP push for tightening SNAP work requirements.

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“I’m very much in favor of work requirements,” Boozman said, adding that the lawmakers need to “make sure waivers are done the right way.”  USDA can waive the work rules for states or areas with high unemployment rates. 

Mary Nowak from the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and Andrew Walmsley with the American Farm Bureau Federation also appeared on the show to discuss farm bill funding, SNAP work requirements and crop insurance for specialty crops.

Watch this week’s episode of Agri-Pulse Newsmakers.  

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