It’s a new year and IL Corn has New Year’s Resolutions too! In 2013, we hope to:
- Pass a workable Farm Bill
- Defend the Renewable Fuel Standard
- Secure funding to upgrade locks and dams on the Mississippi River
- Reintroduce ourselves to the non-farming public
1. PASS A WORKABLE FARM BILL
Like it or not, the farm bill doesn’t just apply to farmers. In fact, a majority of the bill (around 80 percent) deals with nutrition programs that have little to do with farmers and more to do with needy families and school lunches. Fact is, if you are an eating, tax-paying citizen of the U.S., you should care about the farm bill. Here’s where it stands right now and where IL Corn hopes to see it before the end of 2013.
Just into the beginning of 2013, Congress passed an extension of the current farm bill that expired near the end of 2012. The extension gives farmers some idea of what programs they are operating under for 2013 and helps them decide how to manage their crops and their risk in the new crop year. What it doesn’t do is any of the elements IL Corn lobbied for clear back into 2011.
IL Corn is ready to give up direct payments. Illinois corn farmers want to do their part to lower the federal deficit and we believe giving up direct payments, along with the money that program represents, is the responsible thing for us to do. Our preferred version of a new farm bill eliminates direct payments and funnels some of the savings towards …
Beefed up crop insurance. What farmers really need is protection against natural disasters like the drought that occurred in 2012. Farmers need to be protected against unforeseen events, much like you’d protect yourself against a house fire or a car wreck, but the risk is too high for private companies to manage, thus the federal government must get involved with good policies. Farmers really need the new farm bill to offer better crop insurance options to keep farmers and farms in business year after year after year, even when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Simplify the program and eliminate duplication. IL Corn would like to see a program that could be easily understood by farmers, land-owners, and administrators. IL Corn would like a farm program that does not guarantee profit, but manages risk. We hope to pass a farm bill that is fair and equitable across all crops and all regions of the United States. Accomplishing these goals can be difficult, but it can be done if we don’t allow politics to get in the way.
Overall, our goal will be to move a new Farm Bill through the political pipeline sooner rather than later. We are already a year behind and Illinois corn farmers have other priorities on their list as well.
Stay tuned to find out more of the work IL Corn plans for 2013!