Farm bill should include revenue protection, price support provisions
September 27, 2013
South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke sent a letter today to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), urging his support of a strong commodity title in the farm bill that includes both a revenue protection and price support program.
"We believe strongly that a strong commodity title includes these important protections against market collapse, deflation and oversupply," Sombke said. "History has demonstrated that agricultural markets fluctuate based on a variety of factors including supply, prices, planted acres, technology, the economy and international trade, to name a few."
Agricultural producers have been fortunate in recent years with record-high commodity prices. But Sombke said it's not likely those levels will be sustainable into the future.
"We've had historically high prices, but we've also endured record-high input costs and soaring land prices," Sombke said. "We've also experienced drought in some portions of South Dakota and flooding in other areas over the past few years. Farmers know that when the market goes up, it'll come down. We need to make sure farmers and ranchers can stay in business through the tough times which makes price supports and revenue protection so very important."
Since 1978, South Dakota has lost 18 percent of its farms and ranches, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture. Market volatility was one of the major factors in what was a massive exodus from the state's rural communities.
"South Dakota's farmers and ranchers need the tools to survive in times of economic challenges without the fear of losing their livelihood," Sombke said. "We strongly believe that in order to protect and sustain a strong rural economy in South Dakota the final conference committee report of the farm bill must include strong revenue protection and price support programs."
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Sombke said he appreciates Sen. Thune's support for continuing existing permanent law which compels Congress to act on a new farm bill as well as his work on tying certain conservation standards to premium subsidy eligibility for crop insurance, resulting in environmental benefits from farm programs.
"Sen. Thune's had a positive impact on the farm bill in his support of keeping permanent law in place after the House voted to repeal it," Sombke said. "Permanent law pressures future legislative review and action on important farm and rural policies. We also appreciate Sen. Thune's efforts to protect native prairies through his nationwide sodsaver provisions that are included in the Senate farm bill."
–S.D. Farmers Union