Agriculture Needs To Speak With One Voice

Agriculture Needs To Speak With One Voice

If groups splinter the industry will have less clout in Washington.

One of agriculture's biggest challenge over the years when it comes to influencing state and national policy is presenting a united front. There are so many facets and organizations in agriculture, and agriculture varies so much form one part of the country to the other. That it's often been difficult for farmers to all find themselves on the same side of an issue.

Don Villwock, Edwrdsport, a farmer and president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., says there may have never been a more important time than now for agriculture to be united. Yet that may be as difficult or even more difficult now than ever before.

Villwock in one capacity or another has been involved with seven farm bills, counting the 2012 farm bill yet to be written. He believes that going into more serious debate on this bill than over the past few months, this situation is unique, with more unknown factors up in the air.

"Direct payments are likely dead and some Congressmen friendly to our cause have hinted that we come up with another solution," he says. The one thing that has worked well in the Midwest, and Villwock hoped can be kept, is federally-subsidized crop insurance.

The problem is it doesn't play nearly as well in the south, because it doesn't provide them with as solid a safety net for various reasons. So southerners have proposed a second tier of crop insurance that would kick in, federally-subsidized of course, to cover levels above what current options cover, and help them keep themselves whole if they have a crop failure. Their idea is not getting the nod of approval from the American Farm Bureau Federation or from Villwock.

"The problem is that we need to present a united front when we go to Congressmen to tell them what we believe and what we would like to see happen that is fair and just," Villwock says. If one segment of the country or one commodity group, whether it's corn, soybeans or rice are telling a different message than everyone else, then legislators get confused.

"We're already a minority compared to the general population as an industry," Villwock says. "When we further dilute our message by not all being on the same page, Congressmen and Senators don't know what it is we want.

"We've got to go in to this new round of debates on the Farm Bill," he concludes.

TAGS: Soybean
Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish