On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and tell him or her to support the President Trump’s Farm Bill Reforms Act, H.R. 5629, introduced by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). The bill would reform and modernize the subsidies the federal government grants as a part of its omnibus Farm Bill.
In the House Agriculture Committee’s latest Farm Bill proposal, there are no meaningful steps to resolve the wasteful, anti-free market subsidies that are added to the bill each time it is renewed. These subsidies cost the taxpayer billions of dollars and do not accomplish their stated goal of helping farmers in need.
The biggest, most important change in this bill is to reduce crop insurance premium subsidies. The federal government spends far too much to eliminate risk to farmers as well as approved crop insurance agents. Rep. Norman’s bill will reduce premium subsidies for crop insurance plans by fifteen percent. The bill does, however, exempt catastrophic coverage, which covers dire circumstances and large losses. This modest, common sense reform will save $22.4 billion over ten years.
The bill limits commodity assistance to only producers who have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of less than $500,000. These subsidies set revenue and price benchmarks, and reimburse farmers for losses that are often quite shallow. Implementing a stricter means test for these subsidies will ensure they are more efficiently distributed to those farmers who actually require the assistance. In their current form, they shield wealthy farmers from market forces and eliminate risk for huge farm corporations. This fix will save over a billion dollars in the next ten years.
The reforms spelled out in this bill were also put forth by the Trump administration in their budget for the 2019 fiscal year. These reforms do not hurt farmers, but ensure that the subsidies are given out efficiently, and to those who actually need it. Unfortunately, 94 percent of subsidies are given to the top six crops produced in the United States, which is only the top 28 percent of the market. Struggling farmers are not benefitting from farm subsidies, but instead, the wealthiest farm corporations are padding their profits with taxpayer money. It needs to end.
Some of the reforms already proposed in this year’s Farm Bill have been encouraging and the President Trump’s Farm Bill Reforms Act will lead to a marked improvement of the agricultural marketplace. For these reasons, I strongly urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the President Trump’s Farm Bill Reforms Act, H.R. 5629, and to sign on as a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks