Members, farmers upset at House Ag hearing on rural economy |

Members, farmers upset at House Ag hearing on rural economy

Members of a House Agriculture subcommittee and farmers who were testifying Thursday at a hearing on the state of the farm economy expressed frustration over disaster aid and the tariffs that the Trump administration has imposed that resulted in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. farm products.

Discussing White House Office of Management and Budget opposition to additional aid to farmers through disaster aid, Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., said that when legislation is “handed off to people at the Office of Management and Budget, who consider the American farmer and the American farm family nothing but subsidy-sucking freeloaders, then there’s a disconnect in what is actually coming out of the administration, and what the administration is telling us that they’re going to do.”

A panel of farmers from around the country testified about low incomes, the problems that tariffs cause, rising input costs and labor shortages.

House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Filemon Vela, D-Texas, said, “In agriculture policy circles, we’re always hearing about the 1980s. ‘Is the farm economy just as bad as the 1980s?’”

“We should not stand down just because the economic indicators today don’t look exactly like the run-up to the 1980s. We’re here to consider what can still be done to help struggling farmers and truly make this an economy that works for everyone.”

Rep. G.T. Thompson, R-Pa., the ranking member on the subcommittee, said that despite the success in passing the 2018 farm bill, “the current recession in the agricultural economy is a sobering reminder that farm policy, while incredibly helpful, does not make our farmers and ranchers whole. In talking to many folks in my district, there are a lot of farmers who are either already getting out of the business or are one bad crop away from being forced to call it quits.”

–The Hagstrom Report