NFU President Offers Thoughts on Farm Bill Draft
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson has praised the work of Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts on the 2012 Farm Bill - but he's also urging them to strengthen certain programs within the legislation. According to Johnson - the draft legislation the committee leaders have released provides for strengthened crop insurance programs and simplified protection options for farmers against yield losses through the Agricultural Risk Coverage - or ARC - program. Johnson believes ARC has promise as an effective safety net program and will better ensure only farmers who need assistance will benefit from the program.
Johnson is thankful Stabenow and Roberts included livestock health and disaster programs. In a letter to the leaders - he offered support for amendments to adopt prohibitions on packer ownership of livestock and other market reforms. But he also called for more energy program funding. Johnson says NFU would like to see an amendment by North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad and Indiana Senator Richard Lugar - which would provide 800-million dollars in mandatory funding for core energy programs - included in the measure. These programs - Johnson says - are critical for rural development and for helping America become more energy independent.
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