Illinois Farm Bureau members urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday to fight for crop insurance, improve the Agricultural Risk Coverage program and simplify farm bill program sign-up.
Dozens of farmers voiced concerns about the next farm to Perdue during his visit to the Beaty farm in Rochester –- part of Perdue’s five-state RV tour titled “Back to our Roots.” Also Monday, Perdue discussed fertilizer issues and toured the Evergreen FS plant in Chenoa and visited the Georgetown Fair.
“This is a listening tour …. It’s not about me,” he told farmers in Rochester. “It’s not about what I know. It’s about what you all can teach me out here. … We want to know what’s working. What’s not. How can we do better?”
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. moderated the event, which also included comments from Raymond Poe, Illinois Department of Agriculture’s director. Poe explained the importance of agriculture to the state and invited Perdue to attend the Farm Progress Show in Decatur later this month. He also encouraged swift confirmation of Ted McKinney as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. “We need him out there,” he said.
Troy Uphoff, corn and soybean farmer in Finley, recommended making no changes to crop insurance in the next farm bill. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget request capped premium subsidies at $40,000 per farmer, limited eligibility for crop insurance and commodity payments to farmers who earn $500,000 a year or less and eliminated the Harvest Price Option on revenue policies.
“Whenever we have that drought in central Illinois, or have low prices, we need a valuable safety net for our producers,” Uphoff said.
Perdue said changes could be made to help dairy and cotton, which he said didn’t fare as well under the 2014 farm bill.
Steve Turner, president of Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau, added crop insurance shouldn’t come with means testing.
“Insurance has to be whole,” he said. “You’ve got to have everybody in the pool. … If you start pulling some out of it, it’s going to hurt all of the smaller operations and family farms.”
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.