Farm equipment manufacturers normally don’t get involved in farm legislation, but, then, this year’s farm bill is being written in a climate that is anything but ordinary. Although farm incomes continue to remain at record or near-record levels, the drought-like conditions in the Midwest have reminded everyone just how fragile the agricultural economy can be.
That’s probably why the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association or FEMA sent out a press release commending the work of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and ranking member Colin Peterson in drafting and getting the committee to pass H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012, on a bipartisan vote of 35-11.
Farm commodity organizations have been pushing to get the two Houses of Congress to act on the new farm law before Congress goes into recess for the November elections. (The full Senate passed its version of the new farm bill back in May.) The groups are concerned that the calls for cuts in farm program spending could grow even louder once Congress returns for a lame duck session or begins a new year in January.
FEMA notes that the House Agriculture Committee, bill, much like the Senate bill, calls for significant budget cuts that will directly affect producers’ bottom lines. But FEMA believes the House Ag Committee version would provide new risk management tools that “will at least give producers the opportunity to hedge against their risks and ensure that yield losses, price declines and revenue dips do not automatically put farms of out of business.”
The farm bill debate is likely to get even more heated over the next few weeks as farm groups press a reluctant House leadership to schedule H.R. 6083 for floor debate and a vote. It’s interesting that the farm equipment manufacturers are now joining that effort.
Have you weighed in with your Congressman with your opinion on farm legislation?