Don’t cut programs that benefit rural communities and family farmers, National Farmers Union members told officials this week at the group’s “Fall Legislative Fly-In.”
Preserving the Farm Safety Net Program tops the NFU’s list of talking points for its Sept. 10-13 event, where more than 300 farmers have been meeting with Department of Agriculture officials, lawmakers and House and Senate Agriculture committees’ staffers. Other priorities include access to affordable health care; a transition to homegrown, renewable energy; and country-of-origin labeling.
Scott Kolousek, a South Dakotan cattle rancher, was part of a group that met with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and two aides to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
“They were very receptive,” he told Bloomberg BNA.
The safety net provides risk protection and financial support to U.S. farmers. These programs were included in the 2014 farm bill, and the NFU wants all of them included in the next one, NFU President Roger Johnson said in a press release.
“The men and women who feed and fuel our nation need the support of their elected leaders,” said Johnson, who cited a 50 percent drop in farm income over the past four years.
Among others, the programs the NFU wants protected provide relief for farmers struggling with low commodity prices, offer crop insurance, provide increased access to credit, and support agriculture mediation programs.
Kolousek said he and his wife don’t live too far from a hospital or clinic, but others aren’t so lucky.
“Another couple we’re with lives 60 miles from the nearest hospital in western South Dakota and it’s on the verge of closing,” Kolousek said. If that happens, the next closest hospital would be three hours away, he said.
The NFU says 58,000 adult farm injuries are estimated to have occurred in 2014. The NFU wants more support for rural hospitals and a more stable health insurance system where companies aren’t allowed to cherry pick profitable marketplaces.
“Farming and ranching are high-risk occupations and if we lose small-town hospitals we’re at risk of having to drive long distances for quality healthcare,” Kolousek said.
The current health care initiatives that are working for families include Medicaid, tax credits and subsidies, and protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, he said.
The NFU’s main goal is to maintain what programs farmers already have, and stress to lawmakers how much rural America is hurting right now, Kolousek said.
“We cant lose anymore of what we have and need to ask them to do their best to help us,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Teaganne Finn in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)