Crop insurance stressed at Farm Bill hearing

By: Jim Johnson, Cannon Falls Beacon Jul 26, 2022

The top priority for the 2023 Farm Bill is crop insurance. Speaker after speaker talked about the insurance that helps farmers navigate and survive through down years.

Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig hosted the House Agriculture Committee hearing – called a listening session – with General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois on a farm near Northfield. About 200 people attended the two-hour session in a huge machine shed on the farm.

A giant John Deere combine and a smaller tractor provided the backdrop for the two congresswomen who sat at a table while speaker after speaker rose and talked in three-minute segments about their needs in the Farm Bill.

First up was Bruce Peterson, who farms with his brothers and nephews on the farm where the hearing took place who said the insurance helps with marketing a crop months before farmers know if it will be a successful year or not.

“Farming is extremely stressful,” he said.

He added that crop insurance is especially helpful for young farmers with their loans.

The Peterson farm was wiped out in 2018 by a tornado, which tore across the property, Bustos noted in her opening comments.

Other speakers called for including an export component in the legislation and not tying conservation to crop insurance.

Dave Buck, a dairy farmer from Goodhue, noted his farm writes 70 checks each month.

“We are a big driver of the local economy,” he said.

Ed Terry, who recently retired after more than 50 years as the agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Randolph High School, talked about young farmers and “looking ahead to the future.”

He said the Farm Bill is essential to the survival of rural America. 

“Small towns are dying, rural schools are consolidating,” Terry said. “Those schools are the centers of what goes on in those towns.”

Craig touted the recent passage of year-round E-15 ethanol through the House to a loud ovation.

‘It was a little like whack-a-mole, trying to get that over the finish line,” Craig said. “There is a whole lot more to do though.”

The Cannon Falls High School FFA helped at the event by directing cars in the parking lot.

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