Marshall prioritizing trade over farm bill

Rep. Roger Marshall

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The administration’s proposed budget contains massive cuts to crop insurance. With this season’s destructive weather events and the continuous effect of wheat streak mosaic virus, that’s something the ag industry can’t afford right now.

Congressman Roger Marshall says he opposes the cuts and will fight to keep them funded at current levels, but it’s not a deal breaker for him.

“No ultimatums,” said Marshall. “I have to look at the whole picture of the whole budget, but what I’m hopeful we can do is talk about just the agriculture budget and vote on it.”

Marshall says he is instead looking at other factors that are hurting farmers.

“I think the biggest problem we have in agriculture is the commodity prices themselves, and all the crop insurance in the world isn’t going to fix the commodity prices.”

Marshall is looking at ways to increase farmers’ revenues rather than cover their losses.

“It’s all about the price of wheat, the price of cattle, and what can I do to improve it.”

He believes at this point, trade deals are more important that the farm bill.

“It’s very important,” he said about the farm bill, “but I’m not worried about it, versus trade is in a state of disarray, and we need to be focused on that.”

Marshall hopes to address the low commodity prices by finding more customers, like in China.

“We’ll start selling beef there in July for the first time in over a decade,” he said. “Obviously it’s a huge market.”

The current farm bill will still be in effect through 2018, and NAFTA renegotiations are set to begin in August.