NAWG Survey Reveals Issues to Resolve in Next Farm Bill

Wheat farmers say the current farm bill doesn’t adequately protect them against extended periods of low prices.

That was one of the results of National Association of Wheat Growers survey, shared by legislative director Josh Tonsager during the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

A majority of respondents also said the yield data used to calculate payments is inaccurate. They would prefer yield data used by the USDA Risk Management Agency and crop insurance be used instead of data from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Most farmers who responded had purchased revenue protection crop insurance.

The survey will help the organization identify priorities as discussions of a new farm bill begin next spring.

Farmers have until Dec. 15 to respond to the survey.

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule said the association is going to keep its game plan for the farm bill close to the vest.

“It’s very important we keep this confidential,” Goule said. “If we come in, put our farm bill principles together and then lay them all down on the table, print them and send them around, we have pretty much wiped out our hand of having anything to leverage.”

Some of the policy changes likely in the next farm bill will focus on cotton and dairy farmers. Their insurance programs haven’t worked as planned, Goule and Tonsager said.

NAWG wants to establish a Wheat Caucus to meet with congressional leaders and their staffs about industry priorities.

“The idea would be to have a venue in place where we can have champions on the Hill helping us out to discuss our issues,” Tonsager said.

“Even some basic educational things, about the different classes of wheat, what they’re used for” would help members from non-wheat-producing areas understand the crop, he said.

Source: Matthew Weaver, Capital Press

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