Roger Johnson, President of the US NFU has responded to the USDA’s announcement that it would be making more than $7 billion in safety net payments to many of the 1.7 million farms enrolled in either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. In response, National Farmers Union (NFU) President released the following statement:
“A strong farm safety net is a critical risk management tool for agriculture, and we’re pleased to see the ARC and PLC safety net programs will assist producers faced with low commodity prices. The more than $7 billion in payments announced today by USDA will provide needed assistance to farms that are facing severe strife amid the current economic downturn.
“USDA has done a commendable job in using all available tools provided through the Farm Bill Title for the benefit of producers. These programs are not absent of flaws, but without these types of programs, producers would be in a much more difficult spot than they are right now. We look forward to continued engagement with the USDA as they look to assist producers struggling during this challenging environment.
“NFU will continue to promote the importance of a strong farm safety net, and we will work with Congress to encourage improvements to the comprehensive safety net package in the next Farm Bill in a way that more accurately reflects true costs of production.
“In the interim, we call on Congress to provide USDA with the authority to make advance payments to farmers so they don’t have to wait a full year to receive their earned payments. We also ask that Congress repeal the aspects of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which are preventing producers from receiving the full amount of assistance that they are entitled to under the 2014 Farm Bill. In these difficult times, producers should not be penalized 6.8 percent because of the inaction of Congress.”