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Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills, Field Director for R-CalfUSA and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!
And now the NEW VOICE of Farm & Ranch Country, Karina Jones –
Good day everyone in farm and ranch country!
While Congress continues to be out on their August recess, we are hearing of Farm Bill listening sessions taking place in the countryside. North Dakota producers recently met with Senators Cramer, Hoeven, and even Boozman made his way to the north country. The House Ag Committee recently held listening sessions in Maine and Minnesota. With the September 30 expiration of the current Farm Bill looming, if I was a betting lady, I would place my chips on odds that there will most certainly not be a Farm Bill by the end of September. There has simply been too much time and effort put into the appropriations bill and global disputes this congressional session to make much head way on the Farm Bill.
However, while we wait for drafts of the Farm Bill to come out of the House and the Senate, we can all take shots at some of most pressing issues that are trying to throw elbows to make their way into print of the omnibus bill. No doubt some of these could greatly reshape our food system and national food security!
“It is a well-known fact among farm policy insiders that a small group of individuals regularly take advantage of loopholes in the commodity payment system that allow family members who are not farming to receive payments. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) want to end that with the Farm Program Integrity Act, which would institute a more restrictive cap of $250,000 for a single farm and tighten requirements around being “actively engaged in farming” to qualify for payments. By closing that loophole, the bill would save hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to absentee farm managers and prevent million-dollar payments to each of the country’s 50 largest farms,” as reported by civileats.com.
There is a bipartisan call to expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP users. Not only is there obvious benefits to the consumer but this will also bridge the gap between consumers and farmers, putting more of the retail fruit and vegetable dollar directly into the wallets of the farmers. Part of the goal would be to strengthen local food systems and lessen dependency on foreign imports.
Another effort to connect American consumers to the producers of their food is happening at the meat counter. The American Beef Labeling Act, introduced in the Senate, and the Country-of-Origin Labeling Enforcement Act, introduced in the House would ensure that beef is labeled with its country of origin giving consumers the choice at the supermarket to support the producer they place their confidence in. This concept would support domestic cattle producers with consumers dollars by retail transaction instead of sheparding another ag industry into subsidy dependency supported by taxpayers.
“Finally, checkoff programs are meant to promote the interests of farmers that pay into them by promoting their products,” according to civileats.com. “But many farmers feel that checkoffs have moved away from their original intent and often misuse funds and lobby against the interests of members. The Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act would reform the federal checkoff program by creating more transparency around how the money is spent and banning the use of funds for lobbying.” It boasts an introduction alongside a list of lawmakers in both chambers on both sides of the aisle.
We will continue to monitor the conversations happening with the entire landscape of lawmakers regarding the Farm Bill. I encourage you to write or call your delegates and make your position known on these key issues. I always press mine for a response, which I don’t always agree with. Will this farm bill finally turn the tide of lining the pockets of corporate ag in favor of rebuilding the foundation of small to mid-size farmers and ranchers?
Tune in next week as I bring you more ag news from our nation’s capital!
To catch up on a full menu of ag news and markets check out the Your Ag Network app or website. Market analyst Brian Hoops and award winning Hot Barn Report broadcaster, Monte James, keep you up to date on all the markets in the grain belt and cattle country! If you are looking for a daily dose of ranch life with my family, you will find it on Ranch Raised with Karina Jones.
Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 4 children near Broken Bow, NE. She grew up in western NE, with roots also in southwest SD. The cattle industry and raising kids is her passion.
Tune in Fridays on The Hot Barn Report, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights industry reforms or listen to Ranch Raised with Karina Jones a slice of daily life on the Jones Ranch.