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David Sparks Ph.d 2018 Farm Bill
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: January 17, 2018

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One of the largest, and most controversial, pieces of legislation being debated right now in Washington, D.C., is the 2018 Farm Bill.A big reason is the big price tag. Back in September, Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations with AFBF, said the biggest challenge in writing a new farm bill is not enough money.The current bill, which is set to expire this year, will end up costing more than $400 billion. Just this week President Trump talked about the farm bill at the American Farm Bureau annual convention. He touched on one of the key topics farmers and many others tied to U.S. agriculture are keeping close watch on as hearings get underway.

           “Crop insurance is on everybody’s mind,” says Mykel Taylor, an assistant professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University. “The clear message from people I talk to across the country is don’t cut crop insurance.”

           Taylor, an assistant producer of agricultural economics at KSU, is also very involved with producers as part of extension education; which is why Taylor and her colleagues are looking at the debate over the current farm bill with both an economic and historical perspective.

           “In something like the Farm Bill (producers) have choices that impact their bottom line,” Taylor said. “Congress provided a lot of choices in the 2014 Farm Bill and it ended up being really stressful for producers.”

           Taylor is part of a team of researchers on two papers recently selected to appear in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. “Is it Good to Have Options? The 2014 Farm Bill Decisions” and “Evaluation of Educational Offerings in the 2014 Farm Bill” both take a look at how the previous bill could, and should, have in impact on legislation being worked on for the future.

           “Even if (Congress) made no changes, farmers are still going to need Extension to help them determine what they’re going to do,” Taylor said.

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