WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The current farm bill expires at the end of the month.
As of Monday, no new farm bill has advanced with lawmakers.
“Please contact your lawmakers,” said Ryan Flickner, Sr. Director of Advocacy for Kansas Farm Bureau. “I actually was just in Washington, D.C, with a group of about 10 members of Kansas Farm Bureau.”
Flickner and others rallied support for a new farm bill to become a reality.
“Not only do we want a safety net that protects farmers and ranchers,” said Flickner, “but we do know that there’s low-income individuals, families out there that do rely on that Title Four, the SNAP program to feed their families as well.”
Flickner says about 80% of the farm bill revolves around benefits programs to feed Americans in need. But the farm bill also covers everything from commodity price supports to keep markets from potentially changing overnight with big price swings.
Some agriculture analysts say the farm bill can tend to be put down the priority list at times with lawmakers. There is supposed to be a new or renewed farm bill about every five years.
“We seem to have been talking about this for some time, and this seems to be a trend the farm bill has gotten into the past several farm bills,” said KSN agriculture analyst John Jenkinson. “It always seems to take a back seat.”
Jenkinson says with things like a drought this year in much of Kansas. He wants to see an updated farm bill.
“So it’s very, very hard to convey to the general public and to the consumer just how important farmers are,” said Jenkinson. “The farm bill is not a top priority because not a lot of people understand it. Not a lot of people understand how important agriculture is to eating three times a day.”
Without an updated farm bill, some price supports for farmers could run into issues. The dairy industry is one example of price support that could be impacted as early as January if no new farm deal is made. Support for crops being grown could become an issue next year as well.
“Let’s provide certainty and predictability to our farmers as they start to think about what crops they want to plant for future years,” said Flickner. “We need that predictability so farmers can continue to not only feed Kansans but the world.”