Members of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance asked lawmakers for public research funding and crop insurance for alfalfa during their 10th annual DC Fly-In.
The three-day event included nearly 100 meetings and kept NAFA members busy building awareness and recognition for the nation’s third most valuable field crop. NAFA Fly-In participants met with agency officials, regulators, and House and Senate Ag and Ag Appropriations Committee members.
NAFA brought attention to the need for risk management tools that provide an adequate safety net for alfalfa farmers. The current APH insurance product is not on par with insurance products available to other major crops and since alfalfa is not a program crop, current risk management tools contained in the Farm Bill, Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, are not available to alfalfa farmers. This situation incentivizes farmers to shift acres away from non-covered commodities into other cropping choices with better risk management tools.
Meetings were also held with staff members of the House and Senate Ag Appropriations Committees to discuss funding needs for the Alfalfa Seed & Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program and further investments in research funding for alfalfa at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
NAFA’s DC Fly-In participants also met with:
- the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure continued dialogue regarding crop protection tools important to alfalfa hay and seed production;
- USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to discuss how best to use limited research funding to the greatest benefit of the alfalfa/forage industry;
- the National Agricultural Statistics Service to encourage enhanced collection of alfalfa-related statistics;
- USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to discuss the Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program (ASAFS); and
- USTR to discuss trade issues, particularly with China.