Ag Policy Update: Farm Bill, Budget Deals & Trade

The Missouri Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference took place over the weekend. I was able to attend with my husband and had great intentions to not ‘work.’ But when I heard topics being discussed that are timely and others might learn from, I couldn’t help but pull out my recorder and gather some content.

Missouri Farm Bureau’s Director of National Legislative Programs, Spencer Tuma, spoke to attendees during breakout sessions providing policy updates on topics like the farm bill, infrastructure, rural broadband and trade.

If you were sleeping last Thursday night, you may not have realized a government shutdown occurred. But Spencer shares how that shutdown impacted two key commodity groups.

“What that budget agreement does is fund our government until March 23rd through a continuing resolution, but it also had some really cool agricultural provisions including fixes to the current cotton and dairy program. Cotton was not eligible for the traditional commodity programs ARC and PLC. It has the STAX Program, which was plagued with low adoption rates. The current farm bill provisions for dairy, the Margin Protection Program, needed some serious work to be more effective for our farmers and ranchers,” said Tuma.

Even though this budget agreement will only last a short time, it did make those changes to the cotton and dairy programs permanent. “By addressing these through the budget process, it actually frees up some funding baseline in the upcoming farm bill to address some of the other commodity issues,” she added.

Listen to our complete conversation to learn more about the President’s incoming budget’s impact on infrastructure and rural broadband and how changes to trade agreement KORUS could impact U.S. agriculture. Interview with Spencer Tuma, Missouri Farm Bureau