Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trump Backs Crop Insurance

Trump Now Backs Crop Insurance, Says NAFTA Not Easy

Nashville—Speaking at the AFBF Annual Meeting in Nashville, President Trump, said he’ll work with Congress for a 2018 Farm Bill that includes crop insurance.

That’s in sharp contrast to last May when the Trump Administration proposed a 36% cut in crop insurance funding, Trump says he supports crop insurance.

Farm groups including the American Farm Bureau are prioritizing a strong crop insurance program in the next farm bill. The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway hopes to have the passage of the Farm Bill by spring.

The 2014 farm law made the federally subsidized program the major US farm support at around $8 billion a year.

Trump’s endorsement of crop insurance got the longest sustained applause during his speech from Farm Bureau members. Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts was standing just off stage, he's a big supporter of crop insurance, and was visibly pleased when President Trump said, “I’m looking forward to working with Congress to pass a farm bill on time so that it delivers for all of you, and I support a bill that includes crop insurance, unless you don’t want me to.” Then, Trump added, “I guess you like it, right? Good!”

From there the President turned his focus to trade.

“On NAFTA, I am working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers,” said the president during the 35-minute speech to members attending the Annual Meeting. “It’s not the easiest negotiation, but we’re going to make it fair for you people again.”

Ag exports make up more than 20% of total farm income and Trump’s campaign threats to throw out trade agreements caused concern on farms nationwide. But Farmers and Ranchers voted for him because of his platform of tax reform, regulatory relief, and support for corn ethanol.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is credited with talking Trump out of ditching NAFTA last April when he showed President Trump a heavily rural map of states that would be hurt by the withdrawal from NAFTA. Canada and Mexico are responsible for one-third of US AG trade.

The US has proposed at the NAFTA talks that Canada eliminate its tariffs on imports of U.S. dairy, poultry, and egg products basically a dismantling of the nation’s supply management system. “It’s a very good system,” says Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “We have indicated quite publicly that we are fully supporting the supply management system.” The sixth round of NAFTA talks set for later this month in Montreal.

Congress has ignored the administration proposals last spring to eliminate premium subsidies for policies that include the harvest price option, to deny premium subsidies to people with more than $500,000 a year in adjusted gross income, and to limit crop insurance subsidies to $40,000 a year.

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