August 11, 2017
Family farm group releases 2018 Farm Bill Priorities
Calls for policies to cap payments and produce fair market structures
For Immediate Release: August 11, 2017
Jeri Lynn Bakken, DRC Ag Task Force Co-Chair, 701-376-3333
Todd Leake, DRC Ag Task Force Co-Chair, 701-213-0733
As much of North Dakota faces a drought, the need for a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers looms large. Therefore, Dakota Resource Council is gearing up for the upcoming Farm Bill debate; working to ensure our Nation’s farm and food policy is designed to support family farms and ranches through disaster and prosperity. DRC is a statewide community group with a majority of its members family farmers and ranchers.
The current Farm Bill expires in 2018 and the process to decide agricultural policy is underway. “Dakota Resource Council will continue its 40-year tradition of standing with family farmers to ensure the upcoming Farm Bill includes policies that are good for North Dakota agriculture,” said Jeri Lynn Bakken, a rancher from Adams County. “We have to remind Congress that it is the people who live, work and care for the land that provide the food security and prosperity we as Americans enjoy. At the same time, it is vital that these very people providing that security and prosperity are making a living wage and can participate in fair market structures,” Bakken added.
The process to decide what ultimately ends up in the next Farm Bill is underway. For the next several months, Congress and others will be in listening mode.
“The challenges to win anything meaningful in the Farm Bill remain the same: industry is incredibly powerful and it is a huge piece of legislation with multiple and often competing priorities,” said Todd Leake, a farmer from Grand Forks County. “However, we do see opportunities to elevate our priority issues with decision makers and allies during upcoming Farm Bill listening sessions in North Dakota.”
The Dakota Resource Council Farm Bill Platform hinges on three major tenants.
- Ending Farm Program eligibility and farm payments to individuals that do not provide labor or management on a farm that receives federal payments.
- Leveling the playing field for all farmers by eliminating unlimited crop insurance premium subsidies by instituting a Crop Insurance premium subsidy cap.
- Ensuring all size farmers and ranchers have access to fair and open markets that benefit farmers, workers, consumers and the marketplace.
“Every year, family farmers lose land base to large farming entities, whether they are foreign investors, domestic corporations or large LLC’s and partnerships. I don’t see why the Farm Bill should be subsidizing these large entities that are eliminating the American Family Farmer, that needs to be stopped in this Farm Bill,” said Leake.
The Farm Bill is a package of federal legislation enacted every five to seven years to set the general direction for America’s farm and food policy. Congress enacted the first Farm Bill in the wake of the Great Depression.
“The Farm Bill is much more than an agricultural aid package – in fact it influences you every day. From the cost and availability of your food, to the tools available to your community to protect farm and ranch land, promote on farm renewable and energy efficiency and much more,” said Bakken.