Today’s Topic: Farm bill under way in Congress

By on June 5, 2012

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoJune might be a busy month for the 2012 farm bill. The U.S. Senate is expected to bring its version of the bill to the floor today, and agriculture leaders in the U.S. House are planning to work on their version of the bill this month.

Commissioner Troxler says there will be similarities and differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. The question is how long will it take them to work out those differences?

Last year, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture — of which the NCDA&CS is a member — decided to focus on certain priorities for the farm bill. These include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and funding for the USDA Market Access Program. Troxler says the group also is interested in funding for programs that fight invasive plant species. These programs help fight a serious economic threat across the country, he says, and they need to be adequately funded.

Commissioner Troxler also is interested in Congress establishing an insurance program for pork and poultry farmers, similar to what now exists for row crops. Bankruptcies and plant closings in the poultry industry in recent years left hundreds of N.C. farmers without grower contracts, putting them out of work. An insurance program would provide some help when these types of incidents happen. It’s unclear whether this type of program will make it into the final version of the farm bill.

Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda discuss the current state of the federal farm bill.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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