Farm Bill & Risk Management


ASA Positions

  • ASA took the lead in 2016 in organizing meetings between farm organizations to review the status of various titles in the 2014 Farm Bill:  Title 1 (commodities), conservation, research, trade, nutrition and crop insurance.
  • We also met with Feeding America and are encouraging our state affiliates to strengthen relationships with the anti-hunger community at the local level and urge Members of Congress to support keeping the farm/rural and nutrition titles of the next farm bill intact.
  • ASA needs to work closely with other farm organizations to strengthen the farm safety net to offset significant reductions in farm prices and income since 2013.
  • The ARC and PLC programs should be reauthorized, and producers should have a one-time choice to sign up for either one on a crop-by-crop basis.
  • Payments under both ARC and PLC should continue to be based on historical crop production rather than on current year planting.  ASA fought hard in the last farm bill to maintain decoupling as a key farm policy to prevent planting distortions.
  • ASA will support efforts to fix the dairy and cotton programs, including a new cottonseed program and decoupling generic (former cotton base) acres.
  • ASA is also recommending giving producers the option to reallocate existing crop acreage bases to reflect more recent plantings or to update their bases to include all acres planted to program crops.
  • We will support full funding of AFRI and other agricultural research programs as well as for the EQIP and CSP conservation programs.
  • We also support doubling of funding for the FMD and MAP programs to strengthen market promotion efforts overseas.
  • We will work with other farm organizations and the Congressional Agriculture Committees to vigorously defend crop insurance, including opposing any proposals to reduce premium subsidies or impose means testing caps.


Issue Background

The 2018 Farm Bill represents an opportunity for Congress to respond to the sharp declines in farm prices by 40 percent and farm income by 46 percent since 2013.  While the Average Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and crop insurance programs have provided some protection, they must be strengthened.  This will require more resources than are available in the Congressional Budget Office baseline.

The years prior to the Agricultural Act of 2014 saw near-record commodity prices and farm income.  As a result, agriculture, conservation and nutrition organizations accepted a reduction in the baseline of $23 billion over ten years, including elimination of Direct Payments.  Today, as a result of improvement in the nation’s economy, spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to be down $84 billion over the next decade.  The cost of crop insurance is projected to decline $11 billion from the baseline.  These reductions will make addressing funding problems in commodity, conservation, crop insurance, research, energy, and export promotion programs even more difficult.

ASA is working with other farm organizations to develop consensus positions for the 2018 Farm Bill based on the clear need for a stronger farm safety net and more resources for other key priorities.  We were the only sector willing to contribute to deficit reduction when the farm economy was healthy.  Now we look to Congress to find resources from outside the farm bill that will help agriculture through this very difficult period.  We will be united in this request, and look forward to working with the Congressional Agriculture Committees as they begin debate on the 2018 Farm Bill.

ASA Farm Bill Resolutions

Commodities (Title 1) and Crop Insurance (Title 11)

–     ASA will work closely with other farm organizations to enhance risk management tools and strengthen the farm safety net in the next Farm Bill in order to offset the significant reduction in farm prices and income incurred since 2013.

–     ASA opposes reducing the current government subsidy levels of Federal Crop Insurance premiums.

–     ASA opposes imposing means testing on Federal farm payments and loans made to U.S. farmers.

–     ASA supports keeping the agricultural titles and the nutrition title in the next Farm Bill.

–     ASA supports renewing ARC-CO and PLC in the next Farm Bill, and allowing producers a one-time choice between the programs on a crop-by-crop and farm-by-farm basis.

–      ASA supports renewing ARC-IC (individual farm coverage) in the next Farm Bill, and making it a more viable option for producers.

–     ASA supports the utilization of current Risk Management Agency (RMA) yield information to calculate the county yield for ARC-CO payments under the next Farm Bill.  If RMA yields are not available, ASA supports using RMA information from adjoining counties.  If RMA information from adjoining counties is not available, ASA supports using NASS yields.

–     ASA supports the use of federal crop insurance records and/or production evidence from similar surrounding farms to update yields for federal farm programs.

–     ASA recommends that the next Farm Bill give producers a one-time choice to: (1) maintain the existing crop acreage bases on a farm; (2) reallocate bases to reflect average acres planted to program crops in the previous four years; or (3) update bases to include all acres planted to program crops in the previous four years.

–     ASA supports maintaining decoupling under the ARC and PLC programs.  Payments should continue to be based on recent historical crop production reflected in a farm’s crop acreage bases rather than on current-year planting.

–     ASA supports the Secretary of Agriculture designating cottonseed as a minor oilseed.

–     ASA supports decoupling and incorporating generic acres in reallocated or updated bases. Conservatio n (Tit le 2)

–     ASA supports full funding of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for both commodity and livestock projects. States and counties should be allowed to choose and administer all soil conservation, water conservation and water quality programs that best meet the needs at the local level.

–     ASA supports full funding and implementation of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).  Payments should reward producers for good stewardship and conservation practices. Compensation for conservation practices should not be limited by the size of the producer’s operation.  Consideration should be given to practical conservation farming practices based on soil type and climate condition.

–     ASA supports increasing the cap on CRP acres to aid in the implementation of the program.

International Trade (Title 3)

–     ASA urges Congress to double annual funding for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program and the Market Access Program (MAP) in the next Farm Bill, from $34.5 to $69 million for FMD and from $200 million to $400 million for MAP.  ASA supports making these increases in equal annual increments during the life of the Farm Bill.

Agricultural Research (Title 7)

–     ASA supports increasing federal investment in USDA’s Agricultural Research Service

(ARS) and the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) programs that will

benefit soybean producers.

Energy (Title 9)

–     ASA supports inclusion of an Energy Title in the Farm Bill that includes specific authorization and funding for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Biobased Market Program and the Biodiesel Education Program.

Background on Energy Title Programs

The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005) supports the development of biodiesel and other agricultural bioenergy sources that displace foreign petroleum, provide environmental benefits, and promote jobs and economic development, particularly in rural America.  The program provides payments to bioenergy producers, including biodiesel, methane digesters on dairy farms, and wood pellets. The program is currently funded at $75 million over 5 years.

The goal of the Biobased Markets Program (Section 9002) is to develop markets for biobased products through increased federal procurement and a voluntary labeling program. The Biobased Markets Program includes the BioPreferred Program, which adds value to agricultural commodities by designating and promoting biobased products for preference in federal procurement.  USDA also established a voluntary labeling program to help identify and promote these products. The Biobased Market Program received $15 million over 5 years in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Biodiesel Education Program (Section 9006) plays a vital role in expanding marketplace acceptance and use of biodiesel as a low-carbon, renewable diesel replacement fuel.  Through competitive grants the program supports technical outreach efforts to engine manufacturers, truckers, and fuel marketers that promote the use of higher biodiesel blends in conventional diesel applications.  The program is funded at $1 million per year over 5 years.

Download ASA Position Paper on the Farm Bill & Risk Management
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