Members of Congress push for long-term ag support

20 House Ag Committee members suggest changes to House version of farm bill that they say would 'provide a longer-term solution to this crisis facing American agriculture.'

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Facing a fifth straight year of low commodity prices, the potential for lost market share as a result of proposed tariffs on China comes at a particularly bad time for farmers, House Ag Committee members wrote to President Donald Trump.

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

Democratic members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee recently urged President Donald Trump to look beyond short-term payments to compensate farmers for adverse effects of proposed tariffs on China.

“We strongly encourage you to work with congressional leadership to increase Title 1 reference prices, increase funding to fight trade barriers across all agriculture sectors, including sanitary and phytosanitary measurers, and ensure an adequate dairy safety net,” according to a letter to Trump. “This will provide a longer-term solution to this crisis facing American agriculture and ensure that the farm bill sent to your desk is one you will be proud to sign and tout with many hard-working farmers and ranchers who supported you.”

Twenty members signed the letter, including Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline. They pointed to the House version of the farm bill, which they say doesn’t address these challenges.

“This presents you with an opportunity to mitigate the damages already inflicted on American farmers and to protect them from future harm,” they wrote to Trump.

The letter also reminded Trump that the potential loss of market share “could not come at a worse time” as farmers face a fifth straight year of low commodity prices.

Trump has directed Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to come up with a plan to protect farmers. “We’ll make it up to them,” he has said.

Related: Soybean tariff would deal a major blow to farmer finances. Read more here.

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