A storm is brewing in farm country in the form of a dragging agricultural economy, a shaky outlook for our export markets and a dire ag labor shortage. Farmers and ranchers are used to dealing with tough and unpredictable weather, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hope and pray for a break in the clouds. Finally, the sun came through earlier this summer with the House and Senate passage of their respective farm bills.
Of course, Congress can’t legislate agriculture out a fifth straight year of lower net farm income, put more much-needed workers in the fields or knock down ever-expanding trade barriers. But, through the farm bill, lawmakers can provide the certainty of farm programs that offer price and revenue protection, opportunities for conservation and federal crop insurance, which has become farmers’ most important risk management tool.