Jul 31, 2023, 14:54 PM
INFB Marketing Team
The entire Indiana delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives has sent a letter to the House Agriculture Committee outlining priorities for the 2023 farm bill.
Indiana Farm Bureau worked closely with Rep. Jim Baird’s office and other Indiana ag groups to help craft the letter, and then reached out to the rest of the delegation and encouraged them to sign on in support. Each representative has submitted the letter to the House Agriculture Committee. Additionally, Baird’s office has flagged the letter directly with the Ag Committee chairman and ranking member’s team.
“Hoosier farmers make up the backbone of America,” the letter says. “With more than 55,000 farms across the state of Indiana, agriculture supports over 946,000 jobs and more than $193 billion in food and agricultural economic outputs. It is imperative that we pass a strong farm bill that protects our producers in order for them to continue providing safe, affordable, and abundant food, fuel, and fiber to the citizens of this nation and people around the world.”
The priorities listed in the letter include:
- Farm safety net – This includes funding for both federal crop insurance and commodity programs. Specifically mentioned is the need for a robust crop insurance program, with no reductions in premium cost share, and developing and maintaining adequate risk management tools for livestock producers including contract growers.
- Conservation – All federal conservation programs must remain voluntary and incentive-based.
- Nutrition – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits support more than 290,000 Hoosier families. The various food aid programs also support agriculture as many purchases are made directly from farmers. It’s therefore important to maintain a unified farm bill that keeps nutrition programs and farm programs together.
- Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) prevention – Adequate funding for early detection, prevention, and rapid response tools to address any potential animal disease outbreak is imperative, as is robust laboratory capacity for surveillance and a viable stockpile of vaccines through the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank.
- Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) – These two programs are designed to further build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products. For every $1 spent on MAP and FMD programs, U.S. agriculture saw $24.50 in export gains.
In addition to Baird, the letter was signed by Reps. Frank J. Mrvan, Greg Pence, André Carson, Larry Bucshon, Erin Houchin, Rudy Yakym III, Victoria Spartz and Jim Banks.