You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Letter: Texas needs a Farm Bill now
This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill. The Farm Bill impacts every American, every day by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.
The Farm Bill is crucial to maintaining a strong agriculture sector and an abundant food supply that benefits all Americans. Over the past two years, producers have faced a multitude of disasters -- from drought to flooding to blizzards. These events demonstrate how important the safety net is to keeping producers going strong. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Farm Service Agency provided nearly $1.3 billion in disaster assistance to Texas farmers and ranchers using Farm Bill programs.
A new Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill would provide a strong crop insurance program, reauthorize the now-expired disaster assistance programs, and provide retroactive assistance for livestock producers. By reforming the safety net to eliminate the direct payment program -- which pays producers whether or not they are in need of assistance -- the Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill would also save billions of dollars in the next decade.
In addition, it would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue export promotion efforts that have led to the best five-year period in agricultural trade in American history, and provide the Farm Service Agency with the tools to extend additional farm credit in Texas.
The Farm Bill is also a job creation bill that would empower the USDA to partner with rural communities to grow, expand, and support new businesses.
A new Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill would help Main Street businesses grow and hire more, strengthen infrastructure in our small towns, and provide new opportunities in biobased product manufacturing and renewable energy. In Texas, the USDA has funded 118 projects since 2009 to help farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses save energy through the Rural Energy for America Program. This and many other efforts could continue with a new Farm Bill.
A new Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill would make important investments in nutrition programs that provide critical assistance to vulnerable Americans, including children, seniors, people with disabilities who are unable to work, and returning veterans. It would enable the USDA to continue our work with more than 500,000 producers and landowners to conserve the soil and water. It would undertake new strategies to improve agricultural research, and it would ensure a safe food supply.
All of these efforts strengthen our nation. A new Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill would continue the job growth we’ve seen in recent years and help grow the rural economy. That’s why President Obama has identified passage of a new Farm Bill as one of his top three legislative priorities this fall.
This is a prime opportunity to give America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers the certainty they need about the next five years of U.S. farm policy, while investing in the rural communities that stand at the heart of our values. The Farm Bill has stood as a model of bipartisan consensus for decades and it is high time that both Democrats and Republicans come to a compromise on this new Farm Bill. It is our hope that Senate and House conferees will reach a consensus quickly and move a Farm Bill forward as soon as possible.
JUDITH A. CANALES
State Executive Director
USDA -- Farm Service Agency
State Executive Director
USDA - Rural Development
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Beef Cattle Management seminar (August 26, 2015)
Cotton root rot and its symptoms (August 26, 2015)
Feral hogs, water workshop (August 26, 2015)
Get acquainted with 4-H event (August 26, 2015)
Harvey places in top 20 (August 26, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 26, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 26, 2015)
Mobile app for hunting regs (August 26, 2015)
Registration for cattle conference (August 26, 2015)
Survey deadline (August 26, 2015)
Turkey fed to improve Texas grasslands (August 26, 2015)
Wilson County 4-H Council, Booster meetings, Sept. 2 (August 26, 2015)
Anthrax confirmed in equine in Uvalde County (August 19, 2015)
Deer association: Environmental group deceives deer industry, wildlife community (August 19, 2015)
Don’t miss your shot! Apply for drawn hunts (August 19, 2015)
Feral hog management workshop is Sept. 4 (August 19, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 19, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 19, 2015)
Prospects bright for dove season (August 19, 2015)
Saving tomatoes from the Texas heat (August 19, 2015)
Siblings make rodeo memories (August 19, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 19, 2015)
Chagas disease in South Central Texas (August 12, 2015)
Eastern equine encephalitis cases reported in Texas (August 12, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 12, 2015)
Leaf-dropping is common (August 12, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 12, 2015)
New, stronger El Niño may bring another wet winter (August 12, 2015)
Pieniazek elected president of ag education leadership (August 12, 2015)
EPA ‘muddies’ Clean Water Act (August 5, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 5, 2015)
It’s a ‘banner’ summer for Payton! (August 5, 2015)
Lantanas losing luster; mosquitoes a bother (August 5, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 5, 2015)
Meuths receive Bronze Merit Award (August 5, 2015)
Shoot to benefit Don Newbury (August 5, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 5, 2015)
August 2015 Gardening Calendar (August 1, 2015)