Timing, conservation and farm safety net a focus in farm bill roundtable

Missouri’s first farm bill listening session happened at the Missouri State Fair on Monday.

The agriculture groups participating the discussion had questions for House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson and the Missouri Congressional Delegation.

“Will we get a farm bill passed?” Glenn Cope from southern Missouri wondered before the roundtable began. “There are concerns there will be more work requirements pushed and I’m not necessarily against it, but that could delay a bill. And with the droughts and floods we’ve got in Missouri, it’s important farmers and ranchers have a safety net to protect them.”

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association President David Dick told the panel he is concerned about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“It needs to be better funded,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who use that program and we also want to maintain and strengthen other risk management programs at the Farm Service Agency. We would also prefer to not have a livestock title in the bill.”

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins said farmers pride themselves of being good conservationists and this farm bill could be an opportunity to take things to the next level.

“We as farmers need more tools in the toolbox to help us with on-farm resiliency. We think the farm bill could cut red tape, while emphasizing conservation programs that work,” Hawkins said.

Matt Lambert, a farmer on the Missouri Corn Growers Association, asked for continued funding for the trade programs in the farm bill.

Chairman Thompson told Brownfield there have been a lot of reoccurring themes in the feedback given during the farm bill listening sessions so far including a boost in reference prices. He says lawmakers will keep the feedback in mind as the bill is written.

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