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Farm Bill Discussion the Focal Point of Ag Roundtable

The mini-ag roundtable on Wednesday was hosted by Mike Adams, the host of Agriculture with Adams. Members of the table included Jared Kunkle, the President of the Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau; Ron Moore, the past Illinois and American Soybean Association Chairman; Troy Cozhair, manager of Monsanto’s Agronomy Center and Monmouth Learning Center; Ray Defenbaugh, President and CEO of Big River Resources; and Mike Pearson, the keynote speaker of the day and co-host of the Ag News Daily podcast.

Adams started by speaking on how the division in politics must be navigated in order to move forward in agriculture. The next farm bill was the first major topic. Adams said this new bill is very political and it still has a very tough part to make it through, as well as the budget.

Crop insurance is to be in the new farm bill, although cuts have been seen in the new budget. Moore said that this is “normal.” Moore said it is critically important to have crop insurance.

Moore asked, “You look back at 2012 and if there wasn’t crop insurance for areas of Illinois, for example, that made those farmers viable for the next year what would that have done to their rural communities?”

Kunkle said that farmers have to invest into the program, even though the government has tried to make it work for farmers. Without the crop insurance, a farmer may not be able to continue farming.

Pearson called crop insurance a security blanket from a banker’s perspective. He also stated that President Trump’s budget has some issues with several people, including the crop insurance. The average premium support subsidy would drop with the new budget, as it sits right now. This means there would be a doubling of the per/acre crop insurance rates. Pearson is worried that Congress will look at these numbers as an anchor.

Politics were spoken on several times and how they can affect the farming industry, from commodities to buying land to the crop insurances. A trade deal with Canada or Mexico could affect the commodities here locally. NAFTA is also something that most farmers are watching closely. Pearson said that he and other farmers are becoming increasingly nervous.

Cozhiar spoke on the Monsanto research farm with the learning center, and how it brings in people from all over the world. It is currently in the process of getting ready for the 2018 season.

Pearson also stated that farmers have become more proactive, with them learning new things and receiving training, which can be both good and bad.

Pearson asked Moore if he believes the farm bill will pass. Moore said that the odds have diminished as the midterms approach. Moore stated that the last farm bill had a three-year delay on getting approved.

Moore said things will have to be different than the past, as many promised items have not been delivered in the past.

written by Alex Foltz

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