Thune Hosts Farm Bill Roundtable

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The ag industry in KELOLAND is praising the new farm bill which passed Congress this week and awaits President Trump’s signature.  The new legislation carries over many of the same programs from the current farm bill, much to the relief of corn and dairy farmers in South Dakota.

Passage of the $867 billion farm bill comes at a time when farmers are struggling with low prices and a trade dispute between the U.S. and China.   So seeing a new farm bill emerging from Congress is one less worry for them, moving forward.

Kudos all around this ag roundtable hosted by U.S. Senator John Thune.

“And really, this is a victory lap,” South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Lisa Richardson said.

To these ag leaders, just the passage of a new farm bill in the same year as the old one expires is a major breakthrough.

“This is history.  The last farm bill at the end, they ended up doing an extension for a year, brought in uncertainty as people were making decisions on whether to rent land or buy land,” Richardson said.

The new farm bill also expands safety nets for dairy farmers facing low milk prices.

“And now with the tweaking of the farm bill in the dairy area with the passage of this bill, will be very good for the dairy farmers,” Volga farmer Marv Post said.

But critics say the farm bill gives a disproportionate amount of subsidies to corporate farms at the expense of small farmers.  The conservative Heritage Foundation says the farm bill will lead to what it calls a “reverse Robin Hood effect.”

“There are always going to be critics and certainly as farm bill benefits get distributed, if you’re a larger operation, it may be possible that you’re going to do okay because you’ve got volume.  But everyone benefits when you come up with a farm bill like this one,” U.S. Senator John Thune said.

Ag leaders acknowledge that the farm bill is far from perfect.  But they say the legislation retains many important programs, like crop insurance, that offer certainty during otherwise uncertain times on the farm.

President Trump is expected to sign the farm bill next week.
 

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