Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas Addresses Farm Bill Issues During American Farm Bureau ConventionMon, 08 Jan 2018 12:31:23 CST
Members and guests of the American Farm Bureau Federation have gathered in Nashville, Tenn. this week for the organization’s 99th Annual National Convention. Ahead of featured guest speakers President Donald Trump and US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran addressed AFBF members and delegates on matters related to the development of the 2018 Farm Bill. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays is covering the event this week, and was joined by Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News in an interview with Sen. Moran prior to his presentation at the convention to understand his perspective on how the Senate and House agriculture committees will work to provide adequate assistance to producers in times of emergencies. You can hear the complete interview by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Really what I hope is, they’re telling me what matters to them, but I would outline the Farm Bill in this way. We need to get a Farm Bill done sooner rather than later. But history tells us that doesn’t happen very often. And, in particular, with the lack of safety net that’s provided by ARV and PLC - the sooner we get it done, the better. Commodity prices are not good. We’ve had a lot of natural disasters across farm country. And, so, I will be encouraging them to continue to lobby members of Congress and the Administration to work together to the Farm Bill completed.”
During the senator’s speech, he also highlighted the importance of getting a disaster bill through Congress as soon as possible, to set the stage for the 2018 Farm Bill. Moran is hopeful that lawmakers will address contentious issues related to cotton and dairy in the disaster bill and get them out of the way before the farm bill write up.
“If we include a number of provisions related to agriculture and particularly the forefront would be cotton and dairy,” he said. “If they are included in the disaster bill, that increases the base amount of money available for writing a new Farm Bill.”
Politically speaking, Moran says the agriculture committees from both the House and Senate have always been two of the most bipartisan bodies in government, and a haven for cooperation. He believes that will work to the advantage of farmers and ranchers anxious to see a new Farm Bill delivered in a timely fashion.
“All of agriculture is hurting,” he said. “We need to make certain we all work together. It can’t become a regional thing or we all lose.”
Touching on another current farm policy issue, Moran told farmers and ranchers “we need to make sure exports of farm goods are protected and enhanced, not diminished.” He encouraged farmers and ranchers to “make certain the case is made on the importance of ag trade” whenever they have the opportunity.
“The issue of the moment is trade, particularly NAFTA, and it is critical for Farm Bureau members, leadership and other ag groups represented here in Nashville, to make sure they convey that to the President when he’s here,” Moran said. “While a tax bill may be very helpful to agricultural producers, if we don’t have income in agriculture… the tax bill is a lot less relevant to the wellbeing of those who earn their living farming and ranching, and we earn our living through exporting. NAFTA is important to us across the country and particularly in the Midwest.”
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