Washington, D.C. – Members of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana State Poultry Association and Indiana Farm Bureau President, Randy Kron, met with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly yesterday to discuss the Farm Bill, as well as concerns about the volatile, chaotic trade markets.
Donnelly said, “It is always valuable to hear from members of our agriculture community, and I look forward to our continued work toward getting this Farm Bill across the finish line and signed into law, which is vital to providing certainty and stability to our farmers. I heard about the growing concerns with falling commodity prices and uncertain trade policies, which are already harming Hoosier farmers and rural communities.”
Randy Kron, President of the Indiana Farm Bureau, said, “When I’m in Washington, D.C. advocating for Indiana Farm Bureau’s members, Sen. Donnelly always tries to make time to sit down and discuss rural issues with me. This trip, we talked a lot about trade and the farm bill. Sen. Donnelly put a lot of hard work into the farm bill that recently passed the Senate floor and he continues to express the importance of trade to his colleagues in Congress. Soybean, pork, and corn prices have dropped significantly in the past two months with the tariff discussions and implementation. Indiana’s farmers need strong, reliable trade markets in order to remain viable in today’s tough farm economy.”
Joe Steinkamp, Past President of the Indiana Soybean Alliance said, “We were on the Hill to call attention to the very real consequences of China’s retaliatory tariffs. Sharp market reactions to the announcement and implementation of Chinese soybean and corn tariffs have already cost Hoosier farmers like us tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost value for our crops, in just the last 30 days. If these market conditions persist into harvest and were forced to sell a crop for well below cost, many families across Indiana and across the U.S. will lose their farms. Now more than ever, we need Capitol Hill to be champions for farmers across the country; by passing a strong Farm Bill, standing in support of ethanol, and protecting and growing foreign markets. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of great leadership in the Indiana delegation, and Hoosier farmers really appreciate the work Senator Donnelly, Senator Young, and our friends in the House have done to defend the viability of the Indiana farm economy.”
The Senate-passed Farm Bill includes several provisions influenced by Donnelly that are believed to support Hoosier farmers, families, and rural communities; improve risk management, conservation, and export promotion programs, as well as help address the opioid epidemic and food insecurity. The Farm Bill also includes a measure that would increase export opportunities for Indiana farmers through two export promotion programs: the Foreign Market Development Program and the Market Assistance Program.
Several Hoosier farmers also met with Donnelly in Terre Haute, IN., last week and to discuss the impacts of uncertain trade policies. This followed Donnelly’s June meeting with President Trump about trade policy and its impact on Hoosier farmers.
Through his position on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Donnelly is responsible for representing the values of Hoosier farmers in conversations pertaining to legislation like the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is typically reauthorized every five years, and the current bill expires in September 2018. A final version must now be negotiated between the Senate and the House of Representatives, who each passed different versions of the bill.