Farm groups are asking Congress to ensure the USDA has the tools to help farmers. Chad Smith tells us they’re requesting a replenishment to the Commodity Credit Corporation.
Smith: Funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation typically is one of the least controversial items on Capitol Hill. However, this year may be different. Andrew Walmsley, senior director of congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau, says CCC funding is in jeopardy unless Congress approves money that USDA needs to support farmer and ranchers.
Walmsley: Authority granted by Congress has provided funding to stabilize and support farm income and commodity prices, along with conservation practices. This is something that’s usually not been controversial up until last year, but now, some seem to be playing politics with what’s normally a routine practice in Congress.
Smith: Walmsley says without CCC replenishment, key farm bill commodity support and conservation program funding that had overwhelming support two years ago in the farm bill would be delayed. The timing of a delay could not come at a worse time.
Walmsley: We’re seeing impacts from lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic to the farm economy. Agricultural trade continues to face headwinds; farm-level cash receipts are at decade lows; commodity prices remain low; farm debt is record high; working capital has been cut in half. Farmers and ranchers need all the assistance they can find, and USDA needs the immediate resources for an immediate reimbursement to the commodity credit corporation.
Smith: AFBF, along with dozens of other organizations sent a letter to Congress requesting replenishment of the CCC. Walmsley says farmers and ranchers can also help by reaching out to their members of Congress.
Walmsley: We’re in negotiations so nothing is determined yet, but picking up the phone or sending an email to your member of Congress, in particular your senator, as we’re seeing some of these challenges really crop up in the Senate, let them know how important farm bill programs are and how tough it is in farm country. We’ll hopefully move this discussion along and we won’t see the CCC replenishment jeopardized.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.