How will the recently passed federal farm bill affect your operations?

District Voices

Published September 1, 2008  | September 2008 issue

[W]ith this farm bill, there's the traditional countercyclical programs and direct payment programs. We've also got a new permanent disaster program that needs to be implemented, and producers also have an option on an average crop revenue program. So they've just got some more choices with this new farm bill, and it's going to take producers a little more time and thought into which direction will work the best for them. … There's just a fair amount of farmers that haven't thought about things like that for probably their entire careers, so they need to if they want to get the enrollment so they qualify.
Tom Lilja, Executive Director
North Dakota Corn Growers Association—Fargo, N.D

We do take advantage of federal food programs, which were increased. We primarily get donations for our food bank in the neighboring community, and then we supplement with items that we buy from the local grocery store. ... Food has gotten more expensive, so anything that's going to increase availability for food that can come to us for our pantry is wonderful.
Laurie Schmit, Executive Director
Society of St. Vincent de Paul—Marquette, Mich.

[T]here's not really a whole lot for the traditional livestock guy that's going to have a huge impact with the exception of [the Environmental Quality Incentive Program], which, even with the farm bill, remains pretty much an enigma for most people. … We'd like to see some of the subsidies for ethanol production be sunsetted, because of what we feel negatively impacts our operations. I know our supplement costs are going up 200 to 300 percent this year.
Steve Roth, President
IX Ranch—Big Sandy, Mont.

Well, the 2008 farm bill has a lot of the same programs for wheat that were in the last farm bill, so we do not expect to see a major change from a lot of the programs. One of the things where we do expect to have considerable interest is the new [Average Crop Revenue insurance] program. ... That will be an extremely individualistic program that's going to work for some and not for others. So our main thought process in that particular area is just to educate the farmers so they can make the best decision whether to enter that program or not.
Rick Vallery, Executive Director
South Dakota Wheat Inc.—Pierre, S.D.

My sense is that it's going to be business as usual, and the three small changes that have been made in the farm bill with dairy will have very little effect on my operation, basically. The less the government is involved, the better we like it, because I do think it's very market-distorting. … If you take the risks to grow your business and become more efficient, those kinds of things [government involvement] are a negative.
Cris Peterson, Owner
Four Cubs Farm—Grantsburg, Wis.

[W]e're going to have some protection [from summer storm damage] because of this farm bill on the permanent disaster program. Then we have country-of-origin labeling, which the Farmers Union has been advocating for years; the implementation is going to go in, and we think that is terribly important. … [I]f consumers knew where their food came from, we probably wouldn't have had all this loss in tomatoes [when the contamination] turned out to be peppers.
Doug Peterson, President
Minnesota Farmers Union—St. Paul, Minn.