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