A Los Angeles Times column on the farm bill that ran earlier this week relied heavily on the anti-progress agenda of those who oppose nearly every aspect of our nation’s modern food system. In response, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall submitted the letter below.
Your recent piece on the farm bill relied heavily on the anti-progress agenda of those who oppose nearly every aspect of the modern food system.
As a result, you largely ignored the risks that farm and ranch families face in today’s challenging economic, environmental and regulatory environment. Families own more than 98 percent of all farming operations. USDA data show that on-farm income has been negative for more than two decades.
Farms struggle, even as the rest of the country prospers: Net farm income has dropped more than 50 percent in the last four years—the largest decline since the Great Depression. One in 10 farmers is highly or extremely leveraged with loans that must be repaid. A majority of family farms must borrow prior to each season in hopes that they will harvest a profitable crop or raise profitable livestock. The farm bill makes that possible by providing key risk management support to help our farmers remain productive. That productivity ensures that when any of us – SNAP recipients included – go to the grocery store, it takes less of our income to put food on the table.
Nutrition, the rural economy and the environment improve when our farms are financially stable. All Americans benefit when farmers can survive economic downturns, deal with Mother Nature and provide fuel, fiber and food security for America.
President, American Farm Bureau Federation