National Corn Growers Association Public Policy Action Team Chairman Anthony Bush, a grower from Mt. Gilead, Ohio testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management during a hearing to review U.S. farm safety net programs. The committee called this meeting to gain grower insight in advance of the 2012 farm bill.
Bush testified as part of a panel which also included representatives from American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Barley Growers Association and American Soybean Association on June 24.
During his introductory remarks, Representative Collin Peterson expressed that there could be reconciliation next year. If reconciliation takes longer, the farm bill will not include any additional funding and would probably cut funding to a degree.
Acknowledging the difficult fiscal conditions, Bush pushed for more effective risk management tools. Explaining how rising input costs, coupled with an industry that is already capital intensive and operates on thin-margins, have decimated farmers in some areas, he asked the panel to provide growers with the tools they need to continue producing feed, food, fuel and fiber.
“Over the past ten years inputs such as nitrogen and potassium fertilizer have jumped by an estimated 200 and 416 percent, respectively,” Bush explained. “In short, profit margins are still being squeezed, requiring sound risk management plans and timely marketing of corn in order to adequately protect producers’ income.”
Following the prepared testimony, committee members questioned the panel. During the panel, Bush spoke on the price volatility of corn during 2008, on the incredible capabilities of U.S. ethanol producers and on the importance of biotechnology.