Somehow, someway, there will be a new farm bill in the next few days, according to Dr. Joe Outlaw, who spoke during the Texas Wheat Producers Symposium at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.
Getting a farm bill passed is not just good news for agriculture, he said. It is important to both lenders and consumers. The overall economy is linked to agriculture, and the farm bill programs keep more people farming and consumer food prices lower.
Without going into the details of what will be in the bill, he said no new money or programs have been added and only adjustments have been made to deal with issues that have arisen. But the passage of even what is expected to be a baseline farm bill is important to providing structure to the farm programs for next year’s crop.
Outlaw said much of his role is educational, because people don’t understand the farm bill and the role it plays. He said the average person may think the farm bill is about farmers getting rich, but what tends to get lost in the understanding of the farm bill role is that farmers and lenders need the farm bill for certainty.
Most producers have to go to a lender and work through the process to get an annual production loan, Outlaw said. Without the security and stability of the farm bill, the lenders, who have regulators monitoring their actions as well, would find it very difficult to lend to agriculture.
The safety net in the form of crop insurance or Title I programs will not make the producer whole, he said.
The farmer may start out the year wanting to make a certain amount of money, but they have to hope the price and yield holds up, and often they don’t, he said.
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