Crops Livestock News

Farmers & ranchers in the middle of a fight between Congress


For decades the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), with authorities granted by Congress, has provided funding to stabilize and support farm income and commodity prices through programs related to commodity and income support, conservation, export promotion, international food aid and disaster assistance, among others. Since 1987, the CCC has been replenished annually at $30 billion to fund many programs farmers rely on, such as Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, Dairy Margin Coverage, and the Conservation Reserve Program. However, this year it has yet to be replenished.

The continuing resolution scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week does not include a replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation. According to American Farm Bureau Federation, “Because CCC funds were used to help farmers and ranchers impacted by retaliatory tariffs and COVID-19 through the Market Facilitation Program and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, respectively, some in Congress are considering not immediately reimbursing the CCC via the expected continuing resolution to extend government funding.”

If a replenishment of CCC funds are not included in the continuing resolution, “Farm bill programs and payments expected to go out in early October would likely exhaust CCC resources by November. As a result, farm bill program payments after this point would be significantly delayed. With farm-level cash receipts at a decade-low, i.e., Farm Cash Receipts Forecasted to Hit a Decade-Low in 2020 and USDA’s Economic Research Service Releases Updated Farm Income Estimates, the lack of CCC resources would jeopardize farm income, farm profitability and conservation efforts,” according the the market report from Farm Bureau.

More than 40 agriculture-related associations sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting they replenish the funding to the Commodity Credit Corporation. The letter stated, “More than ever, farmers and ranchers need the certainty and support provided by farm programs. Low commodity prices, unjustified retaliatory tariffs, natural disasters, and a global pandemic have placed a tremendous burden on farm country. USDA’s most recent farm income projections forecast that cash receipts will be at their lowest level in more than a decade. Coupled with rising farm debt and a decrease in working capital, producers face challenges not experienced in decades. As the industry continues to endure hardships during this unprecedented time, we urge you to include CCC reimbursement in a continuing resolution.”

Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said, “We’re disappointed that Congress has not reached an agreement on replenishing the Commodity Credit Corporation. For years, both parties have come together to ensure the CCC provides a safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers. A fully funded CCC is as important as ever as farmers are suffering through a pandemic, trade imbalances, and severe weather. We strongly encourage members of Congress to put their differences aside in order to address the needs of rural America.”

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