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February 25, 2013

Farm Policy Important for Nation's Future

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

With such a small percentage of our citizens living and working on farms, it may be easy to understand how farm policy could be put on a backburner. But American Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy Dale Moore says for everyone who likes to eat and likes to know that others have enough on their plates, maintaining a strong farm policy is important. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has that story.
Miller:Whether it’s groceries on your local store shelves, biofuel in your vehicles or clothes on your back, chances are it came from an American farmer. American Farm Bureau public policy director Dale Moore says with only 2 percent of the country working on farms or ranches, it’s easy to forget what an integral role agriculture plays in our nation’s well being.
Moore:We’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about incomes, we’re talking about having the resources to feed not only ourselves, but our neighbors internationally. To do that farmers need risk management tools. They need the safety net. They need the research. They need all those things in their toolbox to make sure that they can continue to do that year in and year out.
Miller:Moore says talk of making more big cuts to farm programs to avoid sequestration does not look at the big picture.
Moore:When you say farm bill, people tend to think of farmers getting federal assistance. But they don’t understand how all of that works together. We have some tools that the federal government has put together, We need those tools to help s deal with Mother Nature, to deal with market volatility, things that we have no control over.
Miller:And in the big picture, no safety net for farmers and ranchers is bad news for consumers.
Moore:When Mother Nature has a fit and throws a hurricane down or a blizzard or some other weather phenomena, it affects everybody in that region, not just one or two producers. Last year’s drought, widespread, affected crop producers all over the country. When that occurs, something as simple as like well, you guys just need to take your lumps because those lumps will eventually work their way to food prices. More and more people will have difficulty feeding their families. More and more people have to go back on food stamps or SNAP rolls. So it becomes kind of a vicious circle. That’s why you help the farmers manage their risk. You help ensure that we have a steady, affordable supply of food.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern. Thank you for listening.

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