National Association of Wheat Growers President and Klamath Falls, OR wheat farmer Brent Cheyne, testified in front of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade during the “Commodity Programs, Credit, and Crop Insurance – Part 1: Producer Perspectives on The Farm Safety Net” hearing.
“With the rising input costs, decreasing net farm income, and the smallest winter wheat crop since the 1960’s it is very important that we take this opportunity to enhance the farming safety net,” said Brent Cheyne. “The commodity, crop insurance, and trade programs play an important role in preserving rural economies, keeping food supplies stable, and keeping farmers on their family land.”
Cheyne emphasized NAWG’s number one Farm Bill priority is protecting the crop insurance program. In discussing crop insurance, Cheyne highlighted that the cost of purchasing crop insurance has risen in recent years and urged Congress to enable more reasonable premiums for higher coverage levels. Cheyne also discussed NAWG’s request for Congress to make a meaningful increase in the wheat PLC reference price and double funding for Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). The current wheat PLC reference price has never changed, and prices have risen to the point that it would take a 38% decrease before triggering a payment. Likewise, funds for trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD have lost their effectiveness from inflation and sequestration. Funding has been unchanged for over 20 years, and the dollars do not go as far as they once did.
“NAWG knows that these requests require money. However, the Farm Bill has received spending cuts in the past,” said Cheyne. “It is essential to keep food supplies stable and rural economies thriving… It would be a waste of an opportunity to not make these investments in the Farm Bill.”
As Congress continues to have hearings on programs authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill, NAWG looks forward to working with the members to help craft a Farm Bill that works for wheat growers in the United States.