People are starting to weigh in on what the 2012 Farm Bill should look like.
The following comments came from the recent U.S. House Agriculture Committee field hearing held in Sioux Falls:
"Crop insurance is the greatest risk management tool producers have. No one knows what Mother Nature is going to do and the risk she brings to our industry. Crop insurance is efficient, effective and a program that works for all crops. It is the most important program for all producers" – Gary Duffy, president, South Dakota Corn Growers Association.
"One of the things we questioned in the 2008 farm bill is whether or not we should be basing [the ACRE program] on a county basis. We know here in South Dakota and other states in our region, we have such varied weather patterns and other circumstances by state, which could be a disincentive for producers to enroll." -- Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin., D-S.D.
"I think one of the stumbling blocks for ACRE participation is the landlords. "There's a major educational effort that has to be gone through to do that. It's complicated enough for farmers to figure out and then to explain it to an 80 year old landlord can be very tough." -- Gary Duffy, president, South Dakota Corn Growers Association.
"In terms of the overall budget, our ag programs represent one half of one percent and that is pretty small particularly when you think that just 100 years ago the average American was spending about 40 percent of their income on food and now it's about 10 percent, which means because of the efficiency of the American farmer the average tax payer has more money in their pocket."
--. Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo.
Sugar policy is "working exactly as it is supposed to. I don't foresee big changes in sugar." – Rep Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
"Supporting the smallest farms while subsidizing the nation's largest farms and their efforts to get even bigger will, in the end, cost us all those family farms in the middle," – Traci Bruckner, assistant policy director, Center for Rural Affair, calling for payment limits.
"With your help, we will take ethanol to new heights and provide a real competitor to foreign oil." -- POET Vice President for Commercial Development Scott Weishaar, urging Congress to approve higher ethanol blends, extend ethanol tax credits and fund the biomass cost-sharing program.
Sources: South Dakota Corn Growers Association, Center For Rural Affairs and POET.