America’s Farmers Counting On Farm Bill Passage

Published online: Jun 12, 2024 Articles American Farm Bureau Federation
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America’s farmers and ranchers are counting on Congress to pass a new, modernized Farm Bill. That was the message delivered by the chair of American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, Kevin Lussier, who testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade.

Lussier is a third-generation farmer from Hawthorne, Florida, where he and his wife operate a dairy farm and serve as members of Florida Farm Bureau. “The future of American dairy farming depends on investment in the next generation. By increasing access to credit and enhancing risk management programs, we can ensure that the next generation of farmers have the tools and resources we need to thrive,” Lussier told lawmakers. “I urge the committee to consider these vital programs and to take action to support young farmers across the country by passing a bipartisan farm bill this year. Young farmers like us cannot afford continued delays by Congress.”

Lussier emphasized the importance of affordable credit for young and beginning farmers. He credits USDA-backed loans and grants for enabling him to grow his business during difficult times.

“Traditional lending institutions often view agriculture as a high-risk industry. When you combine that with the limited or zero credit history many young farmers and ranchers have, it makes it difficult for them to secure loans through private lending institutions on favorable terms. Programs like the FSA’s Guaranteed and Direct Farm Ownership and Operating Loans have been invaluable to the success of our farm and to many other young farmers and ranchers,” he said.

Lussier advocated for improvements to risk management programs, like Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC). Suggested enhancements include increasing the cap on Tier 1 coverage above 5 million pounds, providing a premium discount for farmers who choose to enroll in DMC for the life of the farm bill, and restoring the “higher of” formula for the class I mover. “Strengthening and expanding the DMC program will help young dairy farmers like myself manage the inherent risks in agriculture and ensure a more stable, predictable income,” Lussier said.

Another member, representing the Mississippi Farm Bureau, is also testifying today. Christian Good and his wife operate a corn and soybean farm in Macon, Mississippi. Good is speaking on needed farm bill improvements to reference prices, crop insurance eligibility, rural broadband, and increased funding for conservation programs.

To read Christian Good’s written testimony, click here.

To read Kevin Lussier’s written testimony, click here.