AUDIO: Chuck Conner, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
The House Agriculture Committee marked up the 2018 Farm Bill last week. The House’s bill includes changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and includes funding for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank.
But, what other changes does the bill encompass? Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network senior farm broadcaster Ken Root asks an enterprise executive about the future of crop insurance in the upcoming farm bill.
Chuck Conner is president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC). Conner spoke to Ken Root at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) – Washington Watch event. Conner says he does not believe Congress will make significant changes to protective measures, such as crop insurance in the 2018 farm bill.
“I think it will slide through without much change. After we finished the last farm bill, I warned the crop insurance industry, ‘Sort of be ready in the next farm bill.’ I thought they’d be in the cross hairs, but that was at a time when commodity prices were very different than what they are now. I don’t see this Congress doing anything that would be in the category of taking risk management tools away from farmers or weakening those tools in anyway,” Conner said.
Data provided by Zaner Ag Hedge market strategist Brian Grossman backs Conner’s statement pertaining to very different commodity prices. Zaner Ag Hedge data indicates corn prices have dropped significantly with recent years. The average price for corn in 2017 was $3.60 ½, down $1.97 ¾ from 2013. The average price for soybeans saw a steep decline, sliding from $13.79 ½ to $9.84 ¾.
Conner says farmers need assistance when faced with economic hardships.
“We’ve seen farm income drop dramatically. Prices of every commodity are down considerably, (with) a few exceptions,” Conner said. “I don’t see the farm bill being one in which any of those efforts to take tools away from the farmer are going to be successful. They may try, but they aren’t going to be very strong efforts, in my opinion.”