Rep. Tracy Mann: Strengthening crop insurance is vital to the farm safety net

The Kansas Republican says he wants to make sure crop insurance is protected if any kind of permanent disaster program is written into the upcoming farm bill.

Speaking of this week Agro-Pulse Newsmakers, Rep. Tracy Mann, D-N.C., says crop insurance is his top priority in the farm bill.

“Are we making major changes to crop insurance? I don’t believe we’re doing that – I think the producers like it … we need to make sure that’s reinforced moving forward.”

When discussing whether permanent disaster language should be included in the farm bill, Mann says that given the way the weather has played out over the past couple of years, it’s worth exploring, but there may be more effective ways to provide relief. than advertising special disaster funding.

“I absolutely think it’s something we have to look at. What that will ultimately look like, I think, remains to be determined and we’re in the very early stages of that,” Mann said, adding that crop insurance should continue to “remain an important part of the farm security system.”

Looking ahead to the next Congress, Mann cited trade and oversight as his top priorities, pointing to the value of the Market Access Program. “There’s a big return on those dollars spent,” he said. “The future of agriculture must be to expand markets to create demand beyond our borders.”

Oversight issues he mentioned include the upcoming “Water of the USA” rules and the Biden administration’s “30 for 30” plan for water and land conservation.

Jake Westlin, vice president of policy and communications for the National Wheat Growers Association, says a permanent disaster program is something his organization continues to talk about as it works with crop insurance.

“We focused on crop insurance as our number one priority and made sure that when there is a disaster relief program, it works for field crops and for wheat producers,” Westlin said.

Ariel Vigard, director of government relations for the American Soybean Association, joined the discussion and applauded the increased funding for conservation programs which was done through the Inflation Reduction Act, but also said Congress “cannot ignore the bigger picture” by not increasing investment in the Farm Bill industries.

“These Title I agricultural programs need a new look — we need funding for research, rural development, trade promotion, nutrition,” Wigard said. She added that Congress told the ASA that there would be no new funding in the farm bill outside of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We’re also trying to be realistic about the fact that we’re going to have a lot of tough conversations and tough choices next year,” Wigard said.

Mark Dopp, Chief Operating Officer of the North American Meat Institute, also joins the show this week to discuss NAMI’s Farm Bill priorities and what beef legislation might look like if added to the next Farm Bill.

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