INDIANAPOLIS — With just over a year of life left in the current farm bill, Indiana Farm Bureau is heavily involved in discussions with representatives on Capitol Hill about what Hoosiers want to see in the upcoming legislation.
Dating back to January 2022, INFB convened a group of member farmers and ag professionals from various regions of the state to form a farm bill task force. These individuals helped review current farm bill policy, heard from industry experts, and discussed each title of the farm bill to come up with recommendations for the organization to prioritize.
“Indiana Farm Bureau has always tried to take a proactive role in helping shape legislation that affects farmers,” said Randy Kron, president of INFB. “Agriculture is made up of so many diverse interests, and it is important that Hoosier farmers and midwestern commodities find their voice in federal policy discussions.”
Of the eight titles discussed, priority focus was placed on the commodity, conservation and nutrition titles.
INFB supports additional, new base acres under certain circumstances. Many small tracts of land are coming back into production that previously were pasture, tobacco, hay or used for other purposes, and are now getting planted to a program crop.
INFB recommends that any climate change initiatives proposed in the farm bill should not be a prerequisite for any other U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation or crop insurance program.
While the farm bill is commonly thought of as a piece of agricultural legislation, the nutrition title of the bill is just as important and beneficial to farmers and ranchers and should be included.
“We’ve been meeting with congressional members during their August recess to inform them of what Hoosier farmers want in the next farm bill,” said Brantley Seifers, national affairs coordinator for INFB. “Although there’s some concern with inflation in the nutrition title, overall, we’re hoping this farm bill will evolve from what we saw in 2018 and not change too drastically.”
Since the passage of the first Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1933, farm and income support programs have been the core of agricultural policy in the United States. This policy initially began as an emergency response to post-World War I economic distress in agriculture that worsened with the onset of the Depression.
Emergency measures implemented by President Franklin Roosevelt with the first farm bill were designed to provide a short-term fix to the rural economy. However, the programs have been adjusted over time as policymakers have responded to the political, social and economic pressures that agricultural productivity growth, market integration and structural change have imposed on the farm sector.
“Writing a farm bill is a long, complex process that is influenced by many different forces,” said Kron. “The Senate and House agriculture committees, state and national agriculture groups, environmental groups, nutrition groups, and more all participate in this legislative process.” Kron added that many of the congressional leaders have changed since the 2018 farm bill, and since 2022 is a mid-term election year, the current Senate and House agriculture committee chairs could change once again.
These federal policy recommendations will be presented for consideration at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national convention in January. While adoption of these recommendations is not guaranteed, INFB’s proactive efforts will add to the federal policy discussions and ensure that Indiana interests are heard.
To learn more about INFB’s priorities for the 2023 farm bill and to check out the full report from the farm bill task force, visit www.infb.org.
— Indiana Farm Bureau