Farm groups call for swift farm bill passage

The two largest farming groups in the United States have called for swift passage of the farm bill by a congressional conference committee.

Faced with the lowest farm income in 12 years, the presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are asking Senate and House conferees to move quickly. Everything from commodity price supports to nutrition, soil and water conservation, trade promotion and more depend on swift passage.

“America’s farmers and ranchers persevere even in the toughest times, but the farm economy has gone from bad to worse,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Tariffs and stagnant global demand for commodities have left the agriculture economy in the worst shape we have seen since the farm crisis of the 1980s. Lender surveys and our own experience tell us spring could bring a wave of farm closures unless there’s major improvement in the marketplace.

“Farmers and ranchers need the certainty that the farm bill provides to maintain the food security that all Americans want and need. It is more important than ever that Congress get the job done.”

“Family farmers and ranchers are in need of certainty right now,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Low farm prices due to international trade disruptions, commodity market oversupply and domestic policy uncertainty is putting significant financial strain on farmers.”

AFBF and NFU, together with more than 150 other organizations—ranging from commodity groups representing corn, cotton, milk, soybean, sorghum and wheat producers to bankers, conservation groups, agribusinesses and crop insurance companies have also sent a letter to the Senate and House Agriculture committees.

—Zippy Duvall is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Roger Johnson is president of the National Farmers Union.