The continued commodity price slump is hurting American farmers and Zippy Duvall is trying to make sure Congress understand just what that means to agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation President (AFBF) explained to the Agriculture Subcommittee that, while all farmers and ranchers will be affected, new and young farmers will struggle most as they work to build equity, write rent checks, and make equipment payments.
“The bottom line is that farmers and ranchers are being forced to tighten their belts and pay much closer attention to their financial situation,” Duvall told the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. “They will be in greater need of safety net and risk management programs than has been the case for some time—for some, since they started farming.”
Duvall’s list of factors included: cotton prices, the drop in milk prices, net farm income dropping from $123 billion in 2013 to $56 billion in 2015, and a long-term projection from the USDA of continued low new farm incomes over the next decade.
More than complaining about the bad new, however, Duvall explained to lawmakers how they can help the situation. Approval of TPP topped the list, followed by stopping the Waters of the U.S. rule. Reversing spill prevention and control requirements made the list, along with establishing a nation-wide labeling standard.
You can read his testimony here.