Farm Bureau officials and members of Congress are calling for federal aid to help them prepare for next year’s massive farm bill.
The Farm Bureau is already struggling with the unprecedented drought in the state.
It will face the worst droughts since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Romm said Tuesday that he’s “not too worried about the drought.”
But he says federal officials should be prepared to take steps to mitigate some of the damage the drought will do to farmers.
“The farm bureau has the opportunity to help farmers and ranchers with the economic impact of this drought, and we are,” Romm wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
“We have a lot of work to do.
We have an obligation to help.”
Romm said the agency needs federal assistance to help it “make the most of the resources we have available.”
The 2018 farm bill, which will be voted on this week in Congress, would boost farm credits for farmers to help pay for crop insurance, drought mitigation and drought recovery programs.
But the farm bureau doesn’t have enough funds to meet all of those needs, Romm added.
Congressional appropriators are scheduled to vote on the farm bill next week.
The Farm Bureau, a nonprofit agricultural agency, helps produce about $6.2 trillion in annual sales.
The bureau is also the lead agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).NASS has a $2.5 billion annual budget and oversees the USDA’s agricultural research and development.
It helps farmers in developing countries, rural America and rural businesses.
Romm, a former top farm economist at the USDA, said that federal assistance will help the agency prepare for a worst-case scenario.
But he added that the agency will not “renegotiate” with farmers over the farm program because it is funded by a combination of federal and state funds.
Rabbi Jerry L. Beck, a senior vice president of the National Conference of Evangelicals, a Christian conservative organization, also has called for more federal assistance.
Beck said Tuesday he has concerns about the farm funding, but added that it should be up to farmers to decide what they want.
“I am concerned that there may be a lot that goes on behind the scenes that is going to be very troubling,” Beck said.
He also criticized President Donald Trump for making some of his comments about the agriculture sector sound “like the most racist and bigoted rhetoric that you’ve ever heard.”
“I think it’s a serious problem,” Beck added.
“I think the federal government is not providing the assistance that is needed to really help the rural farmers and the rural businesses.”
The Farm Bank has said that it expects to receive at least $1 billion in payments from the 2018 farm program, but it also is expected to receive $250 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food stamps and other food aid to low-income Americans.
The farm bill is a joint resolution passed by both chambers of Congress in February, but has been stalled by the House of Representatives for months.
The farm bill has been blocked by GOP lawmakers who argue it does not have enough money to meet the needs of the 2018 crop.