NAWG President Schemm Discusses Farm Bill Issues before House Panel

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 28, 2017) – Today, NAWG President David Schemm testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management about NAWG’s Title 1 and crop insurance priorities heading into the next Farm Bill reauthorization process.  The hearing is a part of a series of hearings being held by the House Agriculture Committee to hear from stakeholders about all components of the Farm Bill.  Schemm was joined by representatives of several other commodity organizations.

“The recent low wheat prices have contributed to this year’s winter wheat plantings decreasing to the lowest level since 1909, a time when farmers were working with a horse and plow,” said Schemm, a wheat farmer from Sharon Springs, KS.  “A strong safety net, risk management tools, conservation, and other important titles in the Farm Bill are needed now more than ever.  As the House Agriculture Committee begins the reauthorization process, it’s critically important that Congress understand the stress that wheat farmers across the country are feeling as a result of low prices the past few years.”

NAWG believes some tweaks can be made to programs to enable them to function more effectively.  This could include the use of Risk Management Agency (RMA) data, where available, in determining Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program yields as well as increasing the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program reference price to a level that is more closely tied to cost of production.  These changes would enable these programs to be more reactive to producer’s needs.  Additionally, the current structure of the crop insurance program has functioned well, to the point that it is widely viewed by our farmers as the most important risk management tool they have available to them.

“I appreciate the Subcommittee holding this hearing, and I look forward to working collaboratively with the Committee members to write a bill that meets the needs of wheat farmers across the country,” said Schemm.