2023 Farm Bill should include many tools farmers need to get the job done
There are few things more frustrating than not finding the tool you’re looking for when you need it. When you’ve got a job to do, the right tool helps you do the job correctly.
On the farm, we require many tools. One of the most important is working together with other farmers and farm groups to make sure our state and federal lawmakers understand what we need to produce a safe and abundant food supply.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance Membership & Policy Committee (M&P) recently hosted the annual Ag Policy Summit with the Indiana Corn Growers Association. For the most part, the discussion was about encouraging policies that expand global trade opportunities and the 2023 Farm Bill.
All of us who attended listened to speakers from the American Soybean Association (ASA), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Corteva Agriscience and more. The debate for what goes in the next farm bill is happening right now. We would like to keep the things that were good in the last farm bill while adding policies that will help more.
Some of the things we’d like to see in the next farm bill include:
• Improving the farm safety net for soybeans
• Protecting crop insurance
• Maintaining a voluntary, incentive-based approach to conservation programs
• Expanding investments that promote U.S. commodities globally
• Building opportunities for biofuels and biobased products
Each of these policies might require additional funding or maintaining current levels of funding. As your M&P chair, I am encouraging you to engage with your senators and representatives in Congress to seek additional resources from the budget committees next year. We want the 2023 Farm Bill to be a meaningful and comprehensive farm bill.
But the farm bill isn’t the only federal policy under consideration in Washington, D.C. We’re also watching bill that affect energy and transportation.
In energy, M&P supports the expansion of biofuels. We support an extension of the biodiesel tax credit, which expires in December. We support soy as a feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel. We encourage the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to increases biofuel blending volumes in the Renewable Fuels Standard. And, M&P supports investments in adding biofuels infrastructure around the country.
In transportation, M&P and our coalition of farm groups support Section 103 of the Water Resources Development Act. This is legislation in the Senate that is designed to increase funding for improvements to the U.S. inland waterway system. Rivers and lakes throughout the Midwest move millions of tons of soybeans, corn and other farm products to buyers from around the world. Having inexpensive access to this system makes our crops more valuable.
We support an increase in federal truck weight limits to 91,000 pounds for six-axle vehicles.
Maybe you can’t afford the time or money to go to Washington, D.C., to share your opinions with members of Congress. Eventually, these politicians must come back to us. In August and September, many will return to their districts for Town Hall meetings and even Shop Talk events on farms like ours. I am hosting Sen. Todd Young on my farm in Springport for a Shop Talk on Aug. 10. Keep an eye out for meetings like these – and go.