For farmers across the Midwest, the 2012 Farm Bill battle cry has largely become one of maintaining stability and consistency. At least that’s what legislators heard from Midwestern farmers during the recent House Committee on Agriculture Farm Bill field hearing, held March 23 at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Ill.
“We depend on the stability and certainly of long-term farm policy,” said Blake Gerard, a rice, soybean, wheat and corn producer from McClure, Ill. “Without farm policy, U.S. producers would be unilaterally exposed to global markets distorted by withering high foreign subsidies and tariffs, and have no comprehensive safety net.”
Gerard wasn’t alone in his sentiments. Nearly all members of the ten person panel described the need for a five-year Farm Bill, passed this year, to help give them some stability when planning for the future.
About 300 people attended the hearing, which was the second of four field hearings planned. The 46-member House Committee on Agriculture hopes the hearings, which are to be held at different locations across the country, will allow them to better understand what the nation’s farmers want to see included in the next Farm Bill.
But, crop insurance and passing a five-year Farm Bill this year weren’t the only topics of discussion. Hearing host and committee member, Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., wanted to know more about how farmers are communicating with consumers, too.
For more information, he turned to panelist Deb Moore, a corn, soybean and beef producer from Roseville, Ill. Moore has been actively involved with the Illinois Farm Families® program and filled Rep. Schilling in on how she educates consumers about crop insurance and the Farm Bill.