Soy growers and several other agriculture groups are urging Congress to increase funding for the 2018 Farm Bill, as farmers face an economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression.
In a letter this week to Congressional budget and appropriations committees, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other groups expressed concerns regarding financially difficult times for farmers as prices remain low, cost of production climbs and net farm income has dropped 50 percent in four years.
“While we do not yet have a full-fledged financial crisis in rural America, a good many farmers and ranchers are not going to be able to cash-flow in 2017,” the letter states. “With USDA projecting continued low prices in 2018 and beyond, this situation threatens to quickly and vastly expand with each and every crop year.”
They added that a strong safety net will ensure that U.S. growers and ranchers can continue farming until conditions turn around.
“Providing this safety net will be impossible to achieve without providing additional funding outside the current Farm Bill resources,” the groups state in the letter. “We were the only sector willing to contribute to deficit reduction when the farm economy was healthy. Now we look to Congress to provide the resources necessary to help America’s farmers and ranchers through this very difficult period. Farm budgets are very tight this year and with USDA predicting commodity prices to remain flat for the next several years, we need a strong, effective farm bill to help farmers and ranchers through this difficult, long-term period of depressed prices and income.”
At the beginning of the month, the House Agriculture Committee also asked the committee to refrain from more budget cuts on ag and underscored the “severe economic slump” in rural America.
Click here to read the entire letter.