The American Farm Bureau Federation has sent a farm bill proposal to Capitol Hill.

Approved this past weekend by the AFBF Board of Directors, the proposal offers a diverse mix of risk management and safety net tools to benefit a wide range of farms and it saves $23 billion compared to the cost of continuing the current program.

The American Farm Bureau farm bill proposal helps reduce the nation’s budget deficit, provides an adequate economic safety net for the nation’s farmers and is based on several core policy principles, according to AFBF President Bob Stallman.

The Farm Bureau proposal:

• Offers farmers a choice of program options;

• Protects and strengthens the federal crop insurance program and does not reduce its funding;

• Provides a commodity title that works to encourage farmers to follow market signals rather than making planting decisions in anticipation of government payments;

• Refrains from basing any program on cost of production;

• And, ensures equity across program commodities.

“There is far less money this year than last with which to secure an adequate safety net for the many family-owned farms that make up the bulk of America’s agricultural system,” Stallman said.

“Last year, Congress merely extended the old 2008 farm bill until Sept. 30 of this year. Now, while unfortunately we have less money to work with, it is vital that Congress complete a new five-year farm bill this year. Doing so is in the economic interest of our entire nation.”

Stallman said the goal of the American Farm Bureau proposal is to provide a measure of fairness among regions and crops, while providing each commodity sector a workable safety net provision for farmers who grow that crop.

“Farm policy should provide a strong and effective safety net and viable risk management programs for farmers that do not guarantee a profit but, instead, protect them from catastrophic occurrences,” Stallman said.

“We also want to ensure that terms of our farm programs do not affect a farmer’s decision of which crop to plant. The program must comply with our World Trade Organization agreements.”

“Farm Bureau supports a program that reduces complexity while allowing producers increased flexibility to plant in response to market demand.

“Farm Bureau supports a safety net that allows farmers to purchase insurance products to further protect individual risk. The program should be delivered by private crop insurance companies.

“We support producers being allowed a choice of program options,” he added