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Fear of massive cuts to essential farm safety net programs feature topic at Iowa Farm Bureau's Economic Summit

Fear of massive cuts to essential farm safety net programs feature topic at Iowa Farm Bureau's Economic Summit
Administration Proposes Budget Cutting Crop Insurance by $29 Billion

As farmers enter a fourth year of a downturned ag economy, any proposals calling for cuts to the essential farm safety net send waves of fear through the rural countryside.  A recent federal budget proposal from the Trump Administration would cut $39 billion from farm safety net programs during a critical time for farmers struggling to operate in the black.  Iowa Farm Bureau’s 2017 Economic Summit; “Overcoming Challenges, Creating Opportunities,” on July 20 at the Iowa State Scheman Center in Ames is designed to help farmers manage and strategize during this tumultuous time for agriculture. 

Farmers have faced a 46 percent drop in farm income over the past three years following the 2014 farm bill, and bearish commodity markets, uncertainty with trade deals, and proposed slashes to critical crop insurance programs are causing many concerns for Iowa farmers. 

“Managing risk is what keeps Iowa farms sustainable through a prolonged downturned farm economy, and these proposals call for drastic reductions that could, if enacted, devastate crop insurance and conservation programs,” says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill.  “As I visit with farmers around Iowa, they tell me crop insurance is vital for their success, and they certainly don’t want to jeopardize the gains we have been able to make in conservation.  Budget proposals that hamper farm safety net programs, impact conservation programs, and negatively impact rural economic development programs are especially worrisome and will be addressed in detail during our Economic Summit.” 

As federal budget negotiations get underway in Washington, D.C., farmers are paying close attention to the early field hearings for the new farm bill and potential outlines of the 2018 farm bill, which will establish the essential farm safety net for farmers in the coming years. 

Pending trade negotiations with the potential for significant impacts to Iowa agriculture is also a top-of-mind concern for farmers as they consider crop and livestock marketing decisions.  Speakers during this year’s Economic Summit will discuss the benefits of trade for Iowa agriculture and the status and outlook for ag exports to provide farmers insights and strategies for managing through this downturned economic period.

“This is a challenging time for farmers given extremely tight margins and an uncertain future for trade and the 2018 farm bill,” said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services.  “We want to ensure our Economic Summit helps attendees understand the key economic factors at play and help farmers identify opportunities to earn a premium price for their crops and livestock, or ways to their production costs and improve their bottom lines.”

Iowa Farm Bureau members who attend the full-day summit will benefit from the expertise of Iowa-based and national experts presenting on a range of subjects and issues critical to agriculture today, including economist David Oppendahl of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; John Newton, an AFBF economist; and Jim Knuth, Iowa-based senior vice president of the Farm Credit Services of America. 

This year’s summit will also feature breakout sessions that allow attendees to dive deeper into a range of topics from soil health and cover crops and opportunities in livestock production to ways to build landlord-tenant relationships and trends in the farm machinery markets.   

Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $75 for non-members before July 11.  Visit www.iowafarmbureau.com or contact Lavonne Baldwin (515-225-5633; lbaldwin@ifbf.org) for more information.



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