Texas Agriculture October 21, 2016 : Page 5
TFB Joins National Farm Bill Working Group
The next farm bill may be two years away, but agricultural organizations like Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) are already hard-at-work ensuring the needs of farmers, ranchers and dairymen will be met.
TFB is participating in a new Farm Bill Working Group organized by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The purpose of the group is to gather information to ensure Farm Bureau leaders across the nation are fully-briefed and well-prepared to help shape AFBF policy on the farm bill.
“We’re looking at the issues, examining policy and developing any kind of information they may be able to use in writing their resolutions,” Brant Wilbourn, TFB associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, said.
Wilbourn represents Texas in the group that includes 15 other state Farm Bureaus. Six southern states, six northern states and three states from both the east and west coasts are all represented. Two members of the AFBF staff also serve on the working group.
The group is examining issues, finding information gaps and working to ensure Farm Bureau policy represents its members’ interests well.
“It’s an important issue for our members. We need to be able to represent Texas agriculture and ensure we do what’s best for our members,” Wilbourn said.
The effectiveness of commodity programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Margin Protection Program-Dairy will be considered, as will the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) for upland cotton.
Livestock issues, like avian influenza and foreign disease response, are also under consideration.
The group will: address existing problems with the current farm bill and identify what is working well; detail how those experiences bear out by region and commodity; and will identify the emerging issues and challenges the organization will likely face in attempting to reach farm bill goals.
To help members learn about farm bill-related issues, the working group has prepared fact sheets and options papers.
The information is posted online at www.FB.org/FarmBillWorkingGroup.
Additional fact sheets and papers will be added to the website as they’re created, Wilbourn said.
Current fact sheets cover topics like conservation issues, ARC, PLC, livestock issues, specialty crops, crop insurance and dairy issues.
Background papers on the 2014 Farm Bill are also available.