The debate has begun in Washington concerning a new farm bill, and although the farm bill makes up less than one half of one per cent of the total budget, cuts are expected.
“When we start arguing or talking about government support, there’s no question, there’s going to be less. The question will be, can we figure out a way to do about the same amount of safety net or protection to these guys, when things go really bad, with less money, and there’s a lot of different schools of thought.”
Joe Outlaw is an economist for Texas Agrilife Extension.
“One is to go back to programs that the rest of the world hates, but our producers like which is the price goes really, really, bad. The government steps into help.”
“Or we gotta put everything on crop insurance or some kind of revenue protection and there is an undercurrent, a strong under current right now for moving a lot of the support to the crop insurance, revenue insurance. Why, because it’s more easily defensible to the average person, but the average person just doesn’t understand, and the average congressman doesn’t understand either.”
Outlaw maintains that production agriculture is both unique and essential.
“If somebody wants to know why they’re special. It’s because one, they’re producing food, and two, the amount of investment they make is tremendous, and they’re whole wealth is riding on these things.”
Food programs make up seventy five to eighty per cent of farm bill’s budget. What’s left is shared by commodity programs, crop insurance, and environmental programs.
“It pales in comparison just to even the feeding programs, and then when you look at their overall budget, it’s really ridiculous that we any discussions about the cuts because you could cut it all out and it really wouldn’t matter to the budget deficit.”
Having said that, Outlaw made it clear that there will be cuts.
“It is a certainty there will be less money for agriculture going forward.”
I’m Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.
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