The American Farm Bureau Federation says its members are focusing on the next farm bill. Micheal Clements has more.
Clements: AFBF is turning its attention to the development of the 2018 Farm Bill. Farmers and ranchers are pushing for an early start to farm bill negotiations and AFBF chief economist Bob Young says they’ve already started discussions at the grassroots level.
Young: We’ve got the Farm Bill Working Group. We’ve got a number of state staff that we brought in, and have had lengthy discussions on all the whole issues around the farm bill. Not just title one and what we’re going to do on cotton, but lengthy discussions about rural America, what it takes to live there, and just all the titles of the Farm Bill.
Clements: Young says it’s important to get the farm bill talks going as quickly as possible.
Young: I think we’ll have some folks that are going to try to make a push even in 2017 to talk about some provisions in farm legislation, and so I think it’s important for us to make sure that the groundwork’s laid and that our membership has informed us of what their issues, concerns, and desires are so that we’ve got all that information in hand as we go forward.
Clements: Young says sustainable agriculture up and down the food chain will be an important part of farm bill discussions.
Young: We need to make sure we’re understanding what they’re desires are, we need to understand what our desires are. We’re very involved in a program called Field to Market, for example, that basically does bring the entire food chain into the system, all the way from the retailers down to the input suppliers, the farmers, and the grain handlers in between. Field to Market views sustainability as a journey and not a destination, that it’s one of continuous improvement and I think that’s what farmers have been doing for decades and decades.
Clements: Young says farmers have done a good job of making their farming practices environmentally sustainable. But another important type of sustainability will be economic stability, and the farm bill plays a key role there. Micheal Clements, Washington.
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