U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis met with farmers in central Illinois Monday to hear concerns about the current farm bill – and suggestions for the next one.
During Davis’ final farm bill listening session in Bondville, farmers discussed crop insurance, conservation programs and nutrition spending. But they also brought up ag issues outside of the farm bill – from recent changes to America’s Cuba policy to the appointment of Sonny Perdue.
In all, Davis, R-Taylorville, held four farm bill listening discussions during the last month.
“Many of you in this room heard me a few years ago say that the 2014 bill may be the last bill we ever pass,” Davis said. “I’m pretty optimistic now we can pass another. Time will tell.”
Lin Warfel, Champaign County, asked Davis about crop insurance, calling it a “safety net that is really critical to us in agriculture.”
“How important that is really needs to be conveyed to those in Washington,” Warfel said.
Chris Hermann of Frontier Farms in northern Piatt County questioned why payments in the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County program must be based on administrative county instead of the farm’s physical location. She said she signed a one-page form to have payments based on geographic location the first year, but couldn’t during subsequent years.
“For those of us who are right on a county line, as an agricultural producer, that’s very impactful on the safety net and it makes a lot of it disappear,” she said. “To me, common sense thinking is it should be where the farm is lying instead of where your FSA office is.”
Davis said “that’s one I’ve clearly heard about. … We’ll take that that into consideration.”
Davis said farm bill hearings and listening sessions will continue throughout the year. He doesn’t expect farm bill legislation to be filed until 2018.
“Don’t let this be the last time you talk to me about what you guys think should be prioritized in the farm bill,” Davis said. “Let’s keep the discussion open. Let’s work together to make it even better.”
Other discussion topics included:
- Cuba changes: “I’m not a fan of the president’s decision to reverse the Obama administration’s Cuba policy,” said Davis. “Although I do have some concerns that the Obama administration didn’t do enough to ensure that the Cuban government began working toward combining those two currencies … I believe the only way to get the Castros out of power is through increased American engagement. His new policy could have an affect dramatically on our ag sector.”
- Perdue: “I haven’t heard anybody say an ill word about Sonny Perdue. … I know there was a lot of concern that it was the last appointment that was made. But as I kept telling some of you in this room, that, to me, means they’re really taking their time to get the best person. I think Sonny would fall on that short list of being the best person. I think he’s going to be great to work with when it comes to the 2018 farm bill negotiations,” Davis concluded.
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.