PRESS RELEASE: NAWG Disappointed in Farm Bill Expiration; Calls on Congress to Provide Certainty to Farmers
Washington, D.C. (September 28, 2018) – The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is disappointed that Congress has not acted to reauthorize the farm bill before the September 30th deadline. Expiration of the current farm bill will leave farmers with uncertainty moving forward at a time when net farm income is expected to be down 13 percent this year compared to last year. NAWG calls on conferees to finish negotiations as quickly as possible on a farm bill that provides a strong safety net for growers.
“Farmers are facing historically low prices and a struggling rural economy. The farm bill provides growers access to crucial programs that support their operations,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Winter wheat farmers across the country have already begun seeding next year’s crop, and they are having to do so without knowing whether a safety net will be in place or what sort of conservation programs that may be available.’’
With the farm bill expiration, there are a number of immediate implications which could be resolved upon Congressional action to reauthorize the farm bill. Specifically, USDA will be unable to undertake new sign-ups in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and provide other assistance for growers to adopt conservation practices. Additionally, the availability of farm safety net programs like ARC and PLC for the 2019 crop year is uncertain until Congress acts, and permanent farm law in the form of parity price supports from the 1930s could be implemented if Congress doesn’t act on a new farm bill. There are also several mandatory programs that do not have baseline and will lose funding beginning next Monday.
“NAWG also supports statements about the foreign market development programs made by U.S. Wheat Associates during this time of limbo,” continued Goule. “Inaction on the farm bill continues to create more uncertainty for farmers who are already stressed from the current economic conditions. On behalf of wheat farmers across the country, NAWG calls on Congress to finish the reauthorization process as quickly as possible.”
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 21 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.