Statement by Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau President, On U.S. Senate Passage of Farm Bill

2/4/2014 2:54:25 PM

“After more than two years of deliberation, we are pleased by today’s action in the Senate to send a new five-year farm bill to the President for final approval. We greatly appreciate the votes of both Sen. Mike Johanns and Sen. Deb Fischer earlier today and for the previous votes in support from Congressman Lee Terry and Adrian Smith in the House.”  

“As many in our congressional delegation have said, this is not a “perfect” farm bill. However, this is not a Nebraska only farm bill, but a farm bill for America. As a result there are many interests engaged in these policy discussions and what was passed today is very much a reflection of the diverse interests in the form of Congressional compromise.”  

“This farm bill does bring certainty to Nebraska farmers and ranchers on the direction of American farm policy and farm programs for the next five years which is important to Nebraska’s farmers and our state’s economy because it is so heavily based in agriculture.”

 “We have wanted a farm program that moves away from direct payments to farmers and instead leans toward risk management programs like crop insurance. Farming and ranching is unique in that the success of what we do is so dependent on the one factor we can’t control: Mother Nature. We’ve seen first-hand what the floods of 2011 and the drought of 2012 can do to Nebraska farm and ranch operations - making crop insurance enhancements one of the better parts of this farm bill.”  

“We are equally pleased by the bill’s reauthorization and retroactive funding for Livestock Disaster Programs. Like grain farmers, livestock farmers are equally affected by Mother Nature as we saw with the blizzard last fall in Northwest Nebraska where severe cattle losses can wipe out a long-standing family operation in a single swoop. These programs exist for those situations that are catastrophic in nature and well beyond the scope of handling through farm or ranch management decisions.”

“This bill provides enhancements for USDA research programs vital to helping farmers and ranchers make improvements in not only how we raise food but how we manage our land resources and environment. The bill also takes a step forward in trade promotion which is critical to Nebraska farmers and ranchers as more of Nebraska’s farm products are destine for consumers abroad. In 2011 Nebraska ranked fifth in the U.S. for agriculture exports which were worth nearly $7 billion dollars to Nebraska’s economy.”  

“As people evaluate this farm bill it is important to understand the programs which touch farmers and rancher directly reflect only 20 percent of total farm bill spending. The remaining 80 percent of farm bill allocations are for food assistance and nutritional programs. That fact is often overlooked. More importantly it would be a mistake to for us to forget that the farm bill is about food security for America which ultimately is a critical part of our national security.”

 “We look forward to swift action by the President to finalize this important piece of legislation.”  

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, state wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 56,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. 

Click here for a full break down of the 2014 Farm Bill >>

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