BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas producers have had three years to utilize the current farm bill’s services and programs, and they have a lot to say about it.
“Today’s prices are less than half of what they was the last time the farm bill was created,” said Keith Miller, Barton County farmer. “That means that we have different needs today than we had three years ago.”
Miller said producers need every bit of a safety net now.
“We definitely need some kind of way to provide income for the farmers, because the grain prices are just ridiculously low, but yet our inputs are extremely high,” he said.
A report from the Kansas Farm Management Association, released last year, showed that Kansas farms averaged less than $5,000 in 2015 — down from a five-year average of $120,000.
At a time when Kansas farmers and ranchers are in an economic downturn, Miller said the farm bill needs to improve trade — leading to an increase crop prices.
“If we can just get trade up, we will work out of these issues that we currently have with overproduction, because we can move those products to countries that really need them,” he said.
According to Miller, he would like to see crop insurance continue in the bill.
“If you don’t have crop insurance, you don’t have any way of protecting what you have worked for the entire year,” Miller said.
The hearing for the new farm bill will be held on Thursday at K-State.
Miller said the next farm bill could determine the future of the ag industry.
There will be around 20 Kansas producers at K-State to share their perspective. Sen. Pat Roberts is also expected to be there to bring their concerns back to Washington.
The current farm bill expires September 30, 2018. If Congress enacts the new bill on time, it will be the first time in 16 years.