Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2022)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives has approved a farm bill framework, setting out the organization’s priorities as Congress begins the process of writing the 2023 farm bill. The action came in late June at a meeting of the Council in Washington, D.C. One overarching priority of the recommendations is to ensure that adequate budgetary and staff resources are provided for agriculture to meet a range of critical issues that will impact the long-term sustainability of America’s farmers, ranchers and cooperatives.
“[T]he upcoming farm bill debate will be presented with the challenge to be fiscally responsible. Farmer co-ops are mindful of this challenge,” the recommendations state. “At the same time, it is imperative that Congress recognize the continued importance of farm bill policies that promote a healthy and competitive agricultural sector. That recognition starts with providing adequate resources to support policies in the next farm bill that will preserve the productive capacity of our farms in times of poor production or prices.”
Commenting on the recommendations, NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner said, “ensuring adequate funding is especially important in light of two additions to NCFC’s farm bill guiding principles—that USDA should be the lead federal agency to determine and oversee the climate policies that impact agricultural commodities and production and that the next farm bill address USDA staffing shortages, which will only become more pronounced in the coming years.”
Beyond the farm bill, the recommendations also note, “there are numerous critical issues facing production agriculture that must also be addressed by Congress, including the unprecedented labor shortage. Our national security is tied to our ability to feed ourselves and that security is currently under threat to the labor crisis facing agriculture. Congress must act now to provide much needed reform to our current agricultural guest worker system if we want these farmers and ranchers to utilize these farm bill programs….”
NCFC’s framework builds off of recommendations for previous farm policy and offers specific recommendations for each of the titles that make up the farm bill, excluding the forestry title. The full NCFC farm bill framework can be found online at http://ncfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/2023_Farm_Bill_Framework.pdf.
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.