News from Representative Tom Emmer

 

Dear Friend, 

As Congress crafts the 2018 Farm Bill, this year is sure to be big for the food & agriculture industries, which provide 43 million jobs around the country and make up nearly 20% of economic output. 

Farming is a way of life in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota uses over half its land for agriculture production, and is the 5th largest agriculture-producing state in the nation. Our state ranks number one in production for sugar beets and turkeys, second in wild rice and hogs, third in wheat and oats, meat animals and soybeans, and fourth in corn.

Strong agricultural policy is vital for the stability of farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and around the country. It protects our land and natural resources; develops new trade opportunities while leveling the playing field for our producers; strengthens rural communities; and helps Americans of all stripes access the nutritious foods they need to keep their families healthy. 

The future of farming is bright, with increased technological advancements and innovation at the forefront; farmers are now feeding more people with fewer resources than ever before. Congress is ready to deliver strong agricultural policy to ensure this industry can grow.   

You can learn more about the Farm Bill here and watch a quick informative video here. To stay updated on the Farm Bill, visit my website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I encourage you to share your thoughts with me on the Farm Bill by sending me an email – just click here.

Sincerely,

A Strong Safety Net

America’s farmers and ranchers need certainty, so the next Farm Bill needs to ensure we have strong programs that meet the needs of all producers, especially during tough times. There are programs that are working, like the federal crop insurance program, those that need improvement, like the Agriculture Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) program, and those that are simply not working, like the Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP).

The ARC-CO program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill, is designed to pay farmers when revenue declines below specified levels whether from low yield or low price. ARC-CO payments are determined by a county’s average yield, as calculated by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and national marketing-year average prices. This was the “first crack” at this additional risk management tool and while well-intentioned, the formula that determines the payments need correcting in the next farm bill. That is why I joined with my colleague to the west, Congressman Kevin Cramer, to more accurately reflect a farmer’s specific situation when calculating payments under the program.

The MPP was the result of an underlying goal in the 2014 Farm bill to provide a new and comprehensive risk management tool for dairy producers. Unfortunately, the program has fallen far short of reflecting the margin between input costs and milk prices, resulting in lack of participation above the bare minimum. As a representative for Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, home to the largest dairy producing county in the country, I am committed fixing MPP so that the margin calculations better reflect the cost of producing, and the final price of the product.

Future of Trade

Our nation’s farmers rely on their ability to share their products everywhere, with our allies near and far. Minnesota farmers trade their goods with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Korea Free Trade Agreement allies alike. To our NAFTA partners alone, Minnesota dairy farmers exported nearly $1.2 billion of our dairy products to Mexico and $631 million to our neighbor to the north, in Canada. Minnesota farmer’s hard work leads to high quality results and their results are in high demand throughout the world, we are proud to trade our quality products.

As a leading agricultural producing state, our trade helps generate billions for the United States and our rural farming communities rely on their ability to market their brands abroad. With the impending Farm Bill, a focus on trade is paramount. Our farmers need to be able to trade without hindrance. Our trade agreements must remain fair and balanced for the benefit of our farmers.

Our Future Farmers

I am a proud cosponsor of the Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017. This legislation will allow students to keep more of the money they earn in agriculture so that they can invest in important aspects to their career, like education, training, or even their future operation. 

The Farm Bill will recognize the needs and importance of growing the next generation of farmers, and will provide the next generation the tools they need to succeed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the producers of tomorrow are able to feed and fuel their fellow Americans for years to come.

I had a great time at Farm Fest this past summer with some of Minnesota’s chapter of our Future Farmers of America! 

Looking for an internship? Look no further! 

Are you looking to learn more about how the legislature works? Would you like to see democracy in action? Interested in serving the people of Minnesota? Both my Washington D.C. and Minnesota offices are looking for interns! For more information, click here.

DON'T MISS IT!

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit is marking up my bill, the Home Mortgage Relief Reporting Act (learn more here). I will be delivering an opening statement at the start of the hearing. Tune in at 2:00pm ET/1:00pm CT. Watch live HERE.

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