It was supposed to be one of the biggest and most controversial issues in Farm Bureau policy this year. The showdown between states that supported the elimination of direct payments and those that favored keeping them was supposed to take up much time on the delegate floor.
Except that’s not what happened.
The much anticipated squabble over direct payments never really developed. The discussion passed quickly with most delegates in favor of keeping them in the mix of farm programs in the next farm bill. The delegates easily passed a resolution that called for ” a strong and effective safety net that consists of direct payments, crop insurance, and a simplified ACRE program.”
While the delegates refused to pull their support for direct payments, they did pass a policy stating that farmers must purchase crop insurance if they wish to be eligible for farm program benefits.
Yuma County Farm Bureau authored Colorado’s policy rejecting direct payments. President Nathan Weathers is not pleased with the short shrift given to that position as the delegate session.
“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “I think we missed a great opportunity to show both politicians and the public that we are committed to doing out part in helping to climb out of debt.”
Weathers says he heard from many producers at the Annual Meeting that still did not see the negative light that commodity payments put farmers and ranchers in.
“I heard so many people tell me that they ‘weren’t giving up their government payments’ I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Iowa and Colorado Farm Bureau were two states that favored the elimination of the payments. Most southern suggested retaining them.