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Commodity Groups Rally for Bold Crop Insurance Program

Corn Congress pledges support.

The U.S. corn and soybean growers have outlined what they want their lobbyists and industry representatives to work on in this next year. And, it’s no secret that issues dealing with a new farm bill bubbled to the top.

Following last week’s Commodity Classic, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) gathered all 126 delegates for its annual Corn Congress, while the American Soybean Association brought 135 delegates together for its yearly policy conference.

Kevin Skunes, NCGA’s first vice president and a farmer from Arthur, North Dakota, says some fixes to the 2014 Farm Bill need to be made.

“The way the USDA figures county payments should be looked at. Some farmers in North Dakota’s counties didn’t get payments, because they didn’t have enough NASS yields sent in. So, we want to get that fixed,” says Skunes.

Perhaps the issue that had overwhelming support is a push for a sound crop insurance progam in the next farm bill, Skunes says.

“Especially with today’s lower commodities prices. We feel that there is near crisis in the ag community. We know that ag lenders need a robust crop insurance going forward,” Skunes says.

The NCGA wants to see an additional Title 1 program in the farm bill. “We’re going to advocate for a market-based program to be used when prices go down.”

A resolution put forward to raise the CRP acres was voted down. “We want a strong CRP program, but we left it at its current cap of 24.5 million acres,” he says.

While both commodities groups address weed control, the NCGA wants farmers to be able to spray for noxious weeds such as palmer amaranth within CRP acres without having to acquire a permit.  

Soybean Policy

While the Minnesota Soybean Association put forth a resolution to increase U.S. CRP acreage to 35 million acres, a compromise was to raise the cap, but a number was not attached to the final resolution.

A conservation resolution put forth by the Iowa Soybean Association specified that CRP acres should be “targeted” at the most fragile environmental acres. This speaks to work that Iowa farmers have been doing to implement conservation and water-quality practices across the state, according to an ISA press release.

Connected to conservation, ISA also promoted a resolution to establish and enforce certification for seed being used to establish habitat on CRP land or planted as cover crops. “We just want to be sure that farmers’ seed used for habitat plots doesn’t have noxious weed seed in it,” says Carol Balvanz, ISA policy director.

Balvanz says the ASA delegates put forth a policy request for the doubling of farm bill funding for trade issues. “Iowa exports 60% of its total soybean crop. Trade is huge.”


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