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Boozman on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers: “I don’t see why you do a farm bill if you don’t take care of farmers”

Ranking Member John Boozman joined Agri-Pulse Newsmakers to discuss where we stand with the 2023 Farm Bill.

Key takeaways:

On USDA’s flawed Thrifty Food Program reevaluation

“That was supposed to be done in a revenue neutral way. That’s what Congress assumed looking at the CBO score which said zero. Congressional Budget Office said it wasn’t going to cost anything. The guidelines coming from USDA—wasn’t going to cost anything. Then all of a sudden, we find, that a few people—just a handful of people—made decisions that cost the country 300 billion dollars.”

“When I talk to my food banks, there are a lot of people that are suffering. But it really makes it difficult because they [USDA] have spent so much money in that direction [Thrifty Food Plan], without any hearings or advice from anybody, that probably what it is going to do is drowned out any support for the rest of the feeding programs.”

On the farm bill safety net

“You know what the number one thing is from farmers? Making sure that the safety net that they need is in place so they can go to the bank and borrow the money to go forward. The data that was used [for reference prices] goes back to 2012. The world is very different now than it was in 2012. So I can tell you, there is not going to be a farm bill that I vote for that doesn’t take care of the safety nets.”

“I don’t see why you do a farm bill if you don’t take care of farmers.”

“This is the foundation. I can’t support a farm bill that doesn’t make it such that we get our farmers safety net not in 2012 days but back up to the situation we are in now, which is really unique.”

So you’re absolutely right. I’m not supporting a farm bill, I won't vote for a farm bill, that doesn't take care of our reference prices.”

On the farm bill timeline

“I’ve had a number of talks with Senator Stabenow and she is really committed to getting this done, as am I. And I am really optimistic about us getting it done. Both sides know how important this is. My goal is to get as many votes as we did last time. Right now, we are planning on getting stuff in writing by September.”

Watch the full episode