National Association of Wheat Growers Second Vice President Erik Younggren testified Thursday to key House Members on wheat growers’ experiences with 2008 Farm Bill programs and the process the Association will go through to set 2012 Farm Bill priorities.
Younggren, a wheat producer from Hallock, Minn., joined growers from organizations representing other major commodities at a hearing held by the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.
In his statement, Younggren offered details about wheat growers’ generally favorable experiences with long-standing programs like crop insurance and direct payment, plus thoughts on newer programs ACRE and SURE. He also offered initial data from a survey of NAWG members on existing and future farm policy and described the questions facing the NAWG Board of Directors as they look to the next farm bill process.
“As we look ahead to 2012, the policy development process is not unlike decisions facing farmers about what to do with aging equipment,” he told Members of the Subcommittee. “Compare our current farm policy with a 14-year-old combine that has accumulated about 2,800 hours of use. We’re familiar with and appreciate the general predictability of the overall system, despite the glitches that come with age and known limitations…”
“The question facing growers now with respect to farm policy is this: should our energies be directed toward further tweaking and improving the current structure of farm policy considering the ‘age’ and known challenges associated with it? Or is there a newer model – a next generation safety net – available that could better achieve our risk management goals in a simpler, more cost-effective manner?”
Thursday’s testimony from Younggren was the first formal testimony NAWG leadership has given on the 2012 Farm Bill, though wheat growers from NAWG-affiliated state wheat growing organizations testified earlier at field hearings in South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and Idaho.
NAWG is a federation of 21 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, research and climate change.
Younggren’s written testimony is available in full at www.wheatworld.org/farmbill under “Statements and Testimony”.
Contact: Melissa Kessler, NAWG, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-547-7800