Author: Farm Policy Facts

Don’t Forget About the Rural Infrastructure [COMMENTARY]

As Congress considers President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan, advocates for agriculture and rural communities are making sure lawmakers understand spending is needed not only for roads and bridges but also for broadband internet and a host of other items on the nation’s maintenance backlog.   Advocates say that other nations are pulling ahead and putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage, especially as it relates to agriculture. Robert Crain, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AGCO’s North and South American operations, says the U.S. is not, right now, a world leader when it comes to infrastructure...

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Crop Insurance Caps Would Have Unintended Consequences for All Farmers [OPINION]

Means testing measures like adjusted gross income (AGI) limits would have unintended consequences for all farmers and be detrimental to the long–term viability of crop insurance, warns Rodney Weinzierl, executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, in a recent Agri-Pulse audio interview. Weinzierl stressed that arbitrary limits to the crop insurance program—whether in the form of a Farm Bill amendment or as part of the President’s budget—would not just strike the biggest farms, but instead hit at all family farmers. “Having an amendment that is going to affect everybody that is over 600 … acres — that’s not...

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Equipment Sales Show Optimism Tied to Policy Promises [COMMENTARY]

Weak commodity prices continue to hurt farms and hamper growth in rural economies, but new industry reports show some signs of improvement in agriculture, fueled by discussions over federal tax and regulatory reform, and increasing sales as farmers replace aging equipment. Policy experts are hopeful the momentum will continue, especially if Congress makes sound decisions regarding farm policy, which provides a foundation for the rural economy. But, there’s still a long way to go. Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index remained below growth neutral, according to its May report. The index, released on May 18, was 44.6. Anything above 50...

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It’s Called a Farm Bill For a Reason [COMMENTARY]

Celebrity chefs are much ado about the farm bill these days making the rounds on Capitol Hill, according to a recent story in The Washington Post. As a side note, we wish The Washington Post and other news outlets would cover farmers when they are visiting their Congressional representatives. The chefs’ first order of business is to hold a march in Washington for food. “We had the Million Woman March, we had the Million Man March. How many people could we get out there marching for food,” Andrew Zimmern of the show Bizarre Foods is quoted as saying. After...

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“Fake News” is Nothing New for Farmers [COMMENTARY]

Since the presidential election, “fake news” is all the rage making headlines and generating a lot of discussion. Curiously, some in the news industry are the most alarmed by its prevalence on social media and its ability to dupe people into believing false narratives and inaccurate information. According to a BuzzFeed News analysis, fake election stories “outperformed” real news stories on Facebook. As a result, Facebook has come under fire for allowing the widespread dissemination of such stories and has since vowed to crack down on “fake news.” Google, too, has followed suit. It’s an interesting development from the vantage point of farmers and ranchers who have been dealing with “fake farm news” for years – not only from the mainstream media, but also from special interest groups. There has long been a cadre of Washington elites who know nothing of the real risks farm families face, but speak authoritatively in journals and academic settings of how farmers are shielded from the marketplace. So for farmers, fake news is nothing new. Myths, misconceptions, and outright lies about their way of life, the economics of farming, and farm policy itself have, for years, masqueraded as so-called “real” news stories on the pages and airwaves of news outlets that are crying foul today. The latest example of this appeared just yesterday in The Wall Street Journal. The paper published a sloppy...

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