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Greg Gibson, Coordinator
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email: ggibson@msfb.org

Farm Bureau testifies at House Ag Committee Hearing

TROY, ALABAMA – Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President David Waide told members of the House Agriculture Committee that current crop insurance products available in the southeast do not provide farmers with adequate risk protection.

Waide was one of nine presenters to tell the legislators from Washington, D.C., about issues that must be addressed by the agricultural community as it prepares to write a very important piece of legislation - the 2012 Farm Bill.

“Crop insurance should be available to provide producers of all crops with options for various insurance products that accurately reflect individual risk considerations,” Waide said. “A producer’s only option when insurance coverage products are not available is to enroll in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).” This program can only provide limited financial assistance to producers when a natural disaster occurs.

“No insurance products are available for sweet potatoes, watermelons, tomatoes, sweet corn, rye grass, and many others, all of which significantly contribute to the wonderful diversity of Mississippi agriculture,” said Waide.

In the United States, farmers provide the safest, most affordable, and most abundant food supply in the world. Farming, like any other business, is filled with risks. However, unlike other businesses, once the crop has been planted it is fully exposed to Mother Nature’s wrath with the only defense being effective risk management.

“Many of our farmers are going bankrupt, but they don’t want a handout or a bailout,” Waide emphasized. “They do need a little help in the form of risk management products that can keep their operations viable through a bad crop cycle.”

Another topic brought up by the committee was the issue of farming in today’s credit crisis. Waide said that tightening credit markets will have a lasting impact on farming in Mississippi. “Our farmers can’t put a crop in the ground with the bank charging him 20 percent interest on his crop loan.”

The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the Federal government of the United States. It protects the consumer’s food supply and ensures food safety. “I’m very happy the Committee is taking this proactive look at the provisions of the Farm Bill,” Waide said.

These hearings continue Monday in Lubbock, Texas, and Tuesday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest general farm organization with more than 204,000 member-families statewide.  There are Farm Bureaus in all 82 counties in Mississippi where agriculture comprises a fundamental part of Mississippi 's economy.  Headquartered in Jackson , the federation is an independent, non-profit agricultural organization and is not associated with any arm of the government.  For more information about Farm Bureau, visit our website at www.msfb.com.

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