National Farmers Union Board of Directors Resolution – April 24, 2018
Weak commodity prices, large surpluses, and an increasingly consolidated marketplace prevent farmers from receiving fair market prices for their production. In 2018, net farm income is projected to be less than half of what it was in 2013. As a result, family farmers are forced to rely on price supports to sustain their operations. Unfortunately, the farm safety net does not reflect the current state of the farm economy.
Disputes with international trading partners are creating additional challenges for farm profitability that require a long-term solution. The Farm Bill should include additional funding to offset the potential damages to American family farmers and ranchers.
The House Farm Bill (H.R. 2), as currently written, lacks the improvements needed to help farmers cope with continued low prices. The bill fails to provide farmers with the tools they need to be the best possible stewards of our natural resources, and it reverses progress toward expanding access to local, regional, and specialty markets. Furthermore, it makes unnecessary cuts to programs that feed hungry Americans.
National Farmers Union (NFU) pursues six major goals to improve agricultural legislation for family farmers: profitability, accountability, directed benefits, simplicity, conservation, and diversity. The House Farm Bill does not meet these goals. National Farmers Union’s Board of Directors, on behalf of nearly 200,000 family farmers, ranchers, and rural members, opposes H.R. 2 in its current form.
We call on the House of Representatives to make significant improvements to the Farm Bill, including:
- Increase PLC reference prices to improve the farm safety net and offset potential trade retaliation;
- Strengthen payment limitations and actively engaged requirements for Title I programs;
- Provide dairy farmers with enhanced price supports and a mechanism that manages our milk inventories to meet market demand;
- Ensure credit availability by increasing FSA’s overall loan portfolio;
- Maintain funding levels for consumer benefits under nutrition programs;
- Provide an incentive-based working lands conservation program that promotes improved stewardship;
- Restore mandatory funding for energy programs that promote development of the bioeconomy in rural areas; and
- Reinstate mandatory funding for programs that improve access to local, regional, and specialty markets.