|JULY 26, 2012 --
Last year it was floods and tornados; this year it’s droughts. It seems no matter what the circumstances are; American agriculture is constantly at odds with Mother Nature. According to experts, this is the worst drought our country has seen in nearly 50 years. As of yesterday, over 50% of this year’s corn crop is deemed in “poor or very poor” condition, and the soybean crop is looking just as bad. Some farmers have even given up and started to chop their corn and bale it for livestock feed. Corn prices are expected to reach up to $10 a bushel, and soybeans are expected to hit $20 a bushel. Food prices in general are expected to rise by as much as 3.5% by the end of the year.
So what relief can farmers and ranchers expect in the near future? Not much it seems, unless the good Lord wants to send the next flood our way.
As if battling Mother Nature wasn’t hard enough, now America’s farmers and ranchers are at the mercy of a less-than-understanding Congress…or just House actually. Several of the important disaster assistance programs ordained by the Farm Bill have already expired and therefore are useless to the thousands of growers who are in desperate need of some help.
Livestock Disaster Forage and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock programs are but a few of the many expired programs that quickly need to be refunded in order to help these ranchers get back on track. Programs for commodities like corn and soybeans, such as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) need to be refunded as well.
Many in Congress are talking about passing separate extensions for these particular programs, rather than take up the Farm Bill as a whole. This is a short-term solution to a much larger problem and it’s insulting to American agriculture.
I’m encouraging all of you to call your representatives in the House IMMEDIATELY and tell them to take up the Farm Bill BEFORE August recess! America’s farmers and ranchers need help now; they can’t afford to wait until after the election to get this done. The health and wellbeing of American agriculture affects us all, and they need to be reminded of that. See below for a link to find your representative and their website.
- Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director