Lake Benton farmer Bob Worth raised his hand inside the Marshall-Lyon County Library conference room Wednesday evening to make a point about the bipartisan 2018 Senate Farm Bill that Congress is currently working on.
“With that statement being made, we all like the safety net,” Worth said. “You know profit insurance is a great tool for a safety net. But today’s pricing does not cover your basic input costs. We are not talking about making money. We are talking about pooling our money together to continue.
“Can we figure out a way to tweak (crop insurance) to make sure we can recover? Not make money. I don’t ever want to make money. I don’t ever want to make money from federal crops because that’s not what it’s for. It’s to keep our money together so we can farm another year.”
Klobuchar and her staff addressed Worth’s concerns and other issues involving the farm bill now being debated on in the U.S. Senate and the House.
“Farm commodity prices are down for the fourth straight year and have been cut in half since 2013. And the late April snow and cold temperatures delayed so many farmers this year. While Congress can’t do anything about the weather, we can come together to pass a strong farm bill that supports our farmers from whatever comes their way,”Klobuchar said in a video that was played at the start of the meeting.
“As a member of the Senate Ag committee, I have been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Just last week we passed a new bipartisan bill out of our committee on a strong 20-1 vote. You know there was a food fight going on in the House despite (U.S. Rep.) Colin Peterson’s best efforts. But in the Senate, we put politics aside to make the bill better for farmers and ranchers in our state and across the country.”
Klobuchar said the Senate legislation does include a number of “safety net” improvements like protecting and expanding crop insurance. She said it also provides better support for dairy producers.
“It also includes my amendment to restore mandatory funding for renewable energy programs and to provide immediate assistance to dairy farmers,” she said.
During the video, Klobuchar also expressed the importance of providing funding for animal disease programs and for a vaccine bank.
“This will make sure we do all we can to prevent another outbreak of swine flu or H1N1 flu,” she said.
Klobuchar said the bill now heads toward the Senate floor and she is hopeful it will pass by the Fourth of July.
“We hope it not only passes the Senate, but leads to a bill that gets through the House and signed into law. And you can be sure that I will keep working to pass this bill and other policies that strengthen the nation’s ag industry and our rural communities,” she said.
Worth told Klobuchar’s staff he was pleased to see the bipartisan effort in the Senate.
“Thank you to the senator for working together with both sides — both parties — to get this farm bill done,” he said. “It (bipartisanship) needs to be done a lot more in Washington, D.C. today. And it’s good to see there are still committees that will work together and get something done. Usually the Senate is the one always the hang up on the farm bill. And it’s good to see the Senate is the one to take the lead on the farm bill. And they will get it done.”