Crop insurance highlights AFBF farm bill priorities

Farm economy, current weather illustrate the importance of a safety net.

IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. speaks to Illinois farmers on the RFD Radio Network on Wednesday.
IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. speaks to Illinois farmers on the RFD Radio Network on Wednesday.

By Jeff Brown

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s priorities for the next federal farm bill are in place, and Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. helped play a role in establishing those at AFBF’s board meeting last week.

Guebert said crop insurance, high on Illinois Farm Bureau’s wish list, remains prominent among AFBF’s priorities.

“It was really an interesting conversation, but at the end of the day, we ended up supporting crop insurance as a risk-management tool,” Guebert told the RFD Radio Network® on Wednesday. “We need to keep the funding level where it is; that’s really important.”

Related: Click here for a full recap from Guebert’s time in Washington, D.C., last week.

Crop insurance is top of mind right now for many farmers facing hot, dry conditions in Illinois and other states. That includes some parts of Iowa, Nebraska and North and South Dakota, where many farmers continue to struggle with drought-like conditions.

South Dakota is home to AFBF Vice President Scott VanderWal, who testified last week in front of a U.S. House Ways and Means subcommittee on the need for tax reform. Guebert said VanderWal also touched on farmers’ crop-insurance needs during his remarks.

“Gross income has really declined in the last couple years, and (VanderWal) expressed the importance of a good farm bill moving forward,” Guebert said. “He referred back to the drought of 2012. … Agriculture did not come to Congress asking for disaster assistance, because crop insurance was doing what it was designed to do.”

Related: AFBF vice president testifies on tax reform. Click here.

On Wednesday, Guebert and the other Illinois farmers who serve on IFB’s board of directors met dozens of current or soon-to-be college students who received scholarships from the IAA Foundation, the organization’s charitable arm.

“It was not that long ago that 176 scholarships were issued to young individuals going to college, to give them some assistance financially, which is a great opportunity,” Guebert said. “Well, today, it’s an even better opportunity because we’ve got 42 of those scholarship winners coming in.

“We’ll show our appreciation for what they’re doing, their academic achievements and honor them in a small way.”

Some of the donors who provide funding for those scholarships also met with the board. Guebert thanked them for supporting the next generation of agriculture professionals.

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