News and Commentary
WASHINGTON, D.C., - With farm and ranch commodity prices increasingly under pressure, concerns are growing that the agriculture economy may be entering a prolonged period of instability, making the role of the Farm Credit System more important than ever, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 50 agricultural groups wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
"Credit availability in good times is singularly important to our respective members. Credit availability in tough times may well mean the difference between producers staying on the land or being forced to abandon their operations," the groups wrote.
The array of credit products offered by both the Farm Credit System and commercial banks, often in a collaborative and cooperative manner, ensures that farmers and ranchers and their industry sector partners have access to financial tools that are vital to their success, according to the groups.
WASHINGTON, D.C, – Three Farm Bureau members today called on the federal government to use more carrots and fewer sticks with farmers who care for land that has often been in their families for generations. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Richard Ebert, former Ohio Farm Bureau President Terry McClure and Florida Farm Bureau member Kate English testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.
Ebert told the subcommittee that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to explain its expectations in the ongoing Chesapeake Bay cleanup.
“Despite my four-year degree in animal science from a well-known and respected university and 34 years of farming while implementing modern technologies, I don’t understand EPA’s science,” Ebert said. “And no farmer can legitimately comprehend and respond to the reams of academic analyses that have been produced through these meetings and continue to perform the tasks needed to run his or her farm business.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., - "Farm Bureau is pleased to see the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department launching a new online approval platform today that will hopefully expedite H-2A processing.
"These visa approval delays have gone on far too long and cost farmers across the country hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business. Without workers in place to plant, tend and harvest, crops are going to waste while bureaucratic paperwork keeps piling up.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – Farmers and ranchers want to control the information their equipment collects every time it passes through a field, a survey released today by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows. Farmers also believe that creating a cooperative-style central repository for their data is the best way to enhance its security and maximize its value.
“We asked our members what they thought about data, and it is clear that boosting farmer confidence in security and data management will be critical to unlocking the potential this technology holds,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “This survey also shows that we are on the right track with various ag group initiatives designed to improve data integration and promote transparency about how the data is collected and used.”
AFBF is a founding member of the Ag Data Coalition, an organization created by several leading agricultural groups and companies to help farmers better store and manage their information in a central location. The ADC will establish a co-op-style repository for agricultural data, with farmers having a governing role over the group.
Washington, D.C, – Low commodity prices, tightening credit, expensive land and rising costs for expenses such as seed and fertilizer will lead to financial losses for many farmers and ranchers this year, Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr. told a House subcommittee today.
Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Illinois Farm Bureau, Guebert encouraged Congress to help farm and ranch families endure what observers agree will be a difficult year. He said Illinois farmers who produce row crops have been hit hard along with the rest of the farm economy.
WASHINGTON, D.C., – Agency delays in processing visas for workers who tend and harvest America’s food crops are fast approaching crisis proportions, all but guaranteeing that crops will rot in the field on many farms this year, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said today.
Communications with state Farm Bureaus across the nation have revealed worker shortages in more than 20 states.
“Many farmer members have called us and state Farm Bureaus asking for help,” Duvall said. “They face serious hurdles in getting visas for workers in time to tend and harvest this year’s crops. Paperwork delays have created a backlog of 30 days or more in processing H-2A applications at both the Department of Labor and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., – Farmers are feeling the pain of the continued slump in commodity prices, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall told Congress today. Lower prices will affect income for all farmers and ranchers, but will have an even greater impact on new and young farmers who have not built up equity, are renting a significant portion of their land or are paying off equipment.
“The bottom line is that farmers and ranchers are being forced to tighten their belts and pay much closer attention to their financial situation,” Duvall told the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. “They will be in greater need of safety net and risk management programs than has been the case for some time—for some, since they started farming.”
WASHINGTON, D.C., - The Agriculture Department’s Prospective Plantings Report released today suggests low prices for corn and rice will continue, extending the current, two-year farm downturn through the end of 2016, if not beyond.
“The report really highlights how challenging the market is right now for major crops,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We currently have adequate supplies both in the U.S. and globally in these commodities. It doesn’t look as though that will change. If we have normal yields, that supply side pressure will not ease up much.”
The 93.6 million acre prospective plantings figure for corn is up from 88.6 million acres planted last year, or close to three times the expected increase of 2 million acres.