AFR in Washington Taking Part in NFU Fly In- Talking Farm Bill, Trade and MoreThu, 13 Sep 2018 05:20:20 CDT
A delegation representing the American Farmers and Ranchers is in Washington this week, taking part in the 2018 National Farmers Union Fly In, where some 400 ag producers are on the ground in Washington- preparing to talk to the members of Congress about the need for a farm bill sooner rather than later.
Wednesday morning, the group heard from several Trump Administration officials- including Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and Ag Trade Rep Gregg Doud. Perdue emphasized the need for a strong farm safety net and diverse trade partners for U.S. agricultural producers. He also reiterated his support for expanded work requirements to qualify for food assistance benefits in the farm bill.
Perdue began by discussing the current state of the agricultural economy. “The good news is we’re not where we were in the ’80s,” when the farm economy was in a state of crisis. But “the trend lines are not helpful, not encouraging.” He noted the need for a strong farm safety net, and an export economy that doesn’t over-rely on one trade relationship. “There’s nothing more sustainable than profitability in agriculture,” he said.
He also talked trade- defending the President's trade war- and saying the Administration understands the tough spot that farmers are in with the retaliatory tariffs that have been imposed on many of our agricultural products going in to places like China. The Secretary offered no prediction or outlook for future negotiations.
He also talked farm bill- and offered his support to the House Republicans wanting to have work and or training requirements imposed on able bodied Americans receiving help from the government in the form of SNAP.
The Afternoon session found the NFU Fly In hearing from several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle- and AFR's Sam Knipp got a few moments with Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley. The Senator expressed his frustration with the trade war- but adds that he understands what the President is trying to do and agrees with him in the need to address the issues we have in trade with China. Grassley adds that if the President can prevail- farm prices will improve.
The Senator said he thinks a farm bill deal is not far off- but bases that on comments from Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who have talked about the desire to have a 2018 farm bill on the desk of the President by September 30th.
You can hear Knipp and the Senator by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
The AFR delegation will be visiting members of the Oklahoma Congresssional delegation today.
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