SDFU kicks off farm bill campaign
February 15, 2018
HURON, S.D. – Enduring the worst economic slide in generations, South Dakota farm and ranch families need Congress to pass a farm bill in 2018 to strengthen the farm safety net.
"When it comes to the commodity markets, this is one of the worst years we have had in a long time," explained Taylor Sumption, a fourth-generation Frederick farmer who, together with his dad and four brothers, raise crops and livestock.
Sumption's comments are echoed among farm and ranch families nationwide said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.
"Commodity prices are low, and net farm income is projected to be down $4.3 billion nationally this year. We need Congress to start working on a farm bill immediately," said Doug Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer and President of South Dakota Farmers Union. "Agriculture is South Dakota's number one industry – and it's hurting right now. Family farmers need to be certain of crop insurance and other programs in the farm bill, so they can plan accordingly with their lenders in this time of low prices."
Working to raise awareness of the need for a 2018 farm bill, South Dakota Farmers Union teamed up with other states and National Farmers Union to launch a digital campaign. The campaign includes a website (2018farmbill.org), a farm bill video, animated short videos, weekly promotions and a petition.
Sumption is among several family farmers asked to share their family's farm story and how a new farm bill will have a positive impact on their ability to raise a safe, affordable food supply while sustainably managing resources for future generations.
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"I think many times, when the public hears about a new farm bill or U.S. Department of Agriculture expenditures, they think about it as handouts to farmers and ranchers. What they don't realize and maybe, take for granted is in America, we have the safest and most economical food supply in the world," Sumption explained. "This has a trickle down effect. Look at the way our country leads in technological advancement. Americans haven't had to worry about a safe and cheap food supply, so engineers can focus on being engineers and scientist can focus on being scientists. We need a farm bill passed in 2018 so American farmers and ranchers can continue to farm and ranch."
Three short animated videos are also being launched to help the general public understand what the farm bill is, what Farmers Union's ideal farm bill looks like, and how to advocate for the farm bill.
To view the videos, visit http://www.sdfu.org and click on this news release in the News Reel.
"Family farmers and consumers alike are in urgent need of strong farm and food policies to be passed in the farm bill this year," said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. "As the agriculture committees ready to propose farm bill legislation, Farmers Union wants to be sure all members of Congress understand why the farm bill is so vital to family farm agriculture, our land, our rural communities, and our nation's most vulnerable citizens. We're hopeful this campaign can bridge the support of the entire farm and food community."
On Capitol Hill, the grassroots, family farm organization is calling on Congress to strengthen programs that support family farm agriculture, vibrant rural communities, a clean environment and hungry Americans.
Family farmers, consumers, lawmakers and advocates are encouraged to share the video on social media, tweet with the hashtag #FarmBillNow, and sign the petition to call on Congress to pass a Farm Bill in 2018.
–South Dakota Farmers Union