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Farmers urged to contact lawmakers to support farm bill

By Jennifer Dorsett

Farmers and ranchers are urged to contact their elected officials to discuss how vital a new farm bill is to agriculture and rural communities.

A vote could be held in the coming weeks that will determine the future of the proposed farm bill. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has declared April 30 to May 6 as Farm Bill Action Week in an effort to spur Farm Bureau families across the nation to take action and contact members of Congress.

The specific platforms supported by Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and AFBF include keeping the nutrition and farm programs together under one bill, protecting the bill at its current funding levels and keeping several programs important to farmers and ranchers intact in the new farm bill.

Farm programs addressed in HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, include federal crop insurance, improvements to dairy and Title I commodity programs, assistance for cotton farmers under the commodity title and streamlining conservation programs, the specialty crop program and research and development programs.

“Texas Farm Bureau is constantly communicating with members of Congress to explain why enacting a new farm bill this year is so important,” Laramie Adams, TFB national legislative director, said. “We can’t stress enough how critical it is for Farm Bureau members to reach out directly to their elected officials to share how the farm bill helps you and your family continue growing food and fiber for millions worldwide. Your phone calls and emails will make an impact.”

The past few years, Adams noted, have been tough for farmers and ranchers. Farm income is down more than 50 percent from five years ago.

The agricultural community has faced natural disasters since the last farm bill was signed in 2014. Adams said there is a need for programs to be updated to reflect current economic conditions and provide a safety net for farmers and ranchers in times of natural disaster or other circumstances outside of their control.

HR 2 passed the House Agriculture Committee on April 18. Congress is on break during the week of April 30 to May 6, giving members a window of opportunity to converse with legislators and outline how important it is to support the farm bill.

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