Members of the House Agriculture Committee continued their travels around the country this last week to wrap up what are expected to be the final farm bill field hearings until after the mid-term elections in November.
On Monday, the Committee heard from two panels of producers in Lubbock, Tex., including David Cleavinger, a wheat producer from Wildorado, Texas, and former NAWG president. Cleavinger touched on the importance of maintaining budget baseline for the farm bill; the critical role crop insurance plays in the farm safety net; the industry’s interest in continued focus on conservation programs; and the importance of a robust trade agenda.
He emphasized Texas farmers’ support for federal farm programs that help to mitigate risk inherent in farming and specifically called for passage of three pending free trade agreements and a bill introduced to liberalize trade restrictions with Cuba, citing a Center for North American Studies study that said passage of the Cuba bill, H.R. 4645, would nearly double Texas’ agriculture exports annually.
The Committee was in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Tuesday to hear from two panels – one consisting largely of producers, and the second made up of representatives of the biofuels sector. At that hearing, Steve Masat, president of South Dakota Wheat Inc., dove into recommendations on a number of issues including farm programs, crop insurance, conservation, biofuels, biotechnology and research.
In his written testimony, Masat stated that “producers seek a safety net within the Farm Bill that reflects the realities of today’s production system. We believe this safety net needs to be composed of reliable and meaningful programs that provide coverage for producers and keeps in mind the role that United States farmers play in the global market.”
Prior to those hearings, the Committee had heard from academics and producers in Troy, Ala., and Morrow, Ga., over the weekend.
More information on the House Agriculture Committee hearings, including links to written testimony of all witnesses, can be found at http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/statements.html.