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Farm policy discussed

The WILL Radio / Illinois Public Media Ag Outlook Meeting at the Beef House in Covington, Indiana / CIFN file photo

Experts from the University of Illinois talked farm policy during the recent All Day Ag Outlook Meeting in Covington, Indiana.

Ag economist Gary Schnitkey reminded the group of the March 15 crop insurance signup deadline. He noted crop insurance will likely come up in the Farm Bill debate again as the subsidy portion of the premium could be lowered.

Nick Paulson, ag finance and policy assessment specialist, said one of the biggest issues being dealt with currently includes base acres in the ARC-County program. According to Paulson, this has been working like it is supposed to.

“We do have pretty good data on corn and soybean yields,” he said.

In some Illinois counties, yields have been high enough to offset price declines, which is why different counties receive different levels of support. The 2018 Farm Bill will be a big talking point since the current farm income situation is much different than it was during the creation of the previous bill.

“I think it will be a budget-driven type of debate,” Paulson explained.

U of I ag policy specialist Jonathan Coppess said we are in the first steps of the Farm Bill process with hearings underway. Big issues being monitored include the federal budget situation and politics in the nation’s capital. What is expected to be a busy and contentious time for Congress will impact the new Farm Bill.

“We have some requests already stacking up about more spending in the farm sector,” Coppess acknowledged.

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