Risk management important in farm policy

The next farm bill will need to maintain farmers’ ability to manage risk. Senator John Thune Tuesday wrapped up the last of three roundtable meetings on the subject with South Dakota farmers. The senator’s Senior Policy Advisor Lynn Tjeerdsma says that in spite of good commodity prices, there are some areas of the U.S. suffering the worst drought ever, and there are parts of South Dakota that haven’t been planted for two to three years because they’re too wet.

“It’s not just price fluctuations, but it’s the uncertainties of the weather and being able to put together farm policy that helps producers sustain themselves [and] cover cost of production,” said Tjeerdsma, during an interview with Brownfield Tuesday, following the last of three roundtable meetings. “It’s going to be the biggest goal of the senator moving forward as a member of the Ag Committee.”

Tjeerdsma says Senate farm bill hearings were to begin in earnest following the August recess, but that was before formation of the so-called Super Committee that will determine where spending cuts are made.

“There’s some uncertainty there now as to whether we should come up with a bare-bones farm bill with some proposed cuts, and what we do with what money that remained after the cuts, or whether we should just wait and see,” said Tjeerdsma. “It’s an environment or atmosphere unlike any I’ve seen in the last 21 years that I’ve been in Washington.”

No matter what is or isn’t included in the next farm bill, Tjeerdsma says it doesn’t change the fact that by 2050, there will be a global population equivalent to two Chinas.

“That’s a lot of mouths to feed in this world and farmers in this country have been able to do it for the last century-and-a-half and still provide the cheapest food and safest food, so it’s going to be incumbent on ag committee and farm bill policy writers to keep that momentum going in spite of all the budget challenges,” said Tjeerdsma.

The roundtable meetings were in Rapid City, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls.

AUDIO: Lynn Tjeerdsma (5 min. MP3)

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News