LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas ranks third in the country in agricultural production. That's more than $21-billion in agricultural products every year, and because the state is such a big part of the nation's production, the House Agriculture Committee met in Lubbock on Monday to hear from Texas farmers.
The 2012 farm bill will have a major impact on those farmers not to mention the local economy, and that's why the men writing the bill are traveling across the country gathering ideas straight off the farm.
From cotton to peanuts to dairy, the House Agriculture Committee wants to make sure Texas farmers have a say in the 2012 farm bill.
U.S Representative Randy Neugebauer hosted Monday's hearing.
"We need to hear from the actual producers and that's what's important about coming out into my congressional district and traveling around the country and hearing from the people that are actually day to day making their living from production agriculture," said Neugebauer.
13 diverse Texas farmers and ranchers testified before the panel, and gave their opinions and recommendations on what should change in the current bill.
"Sound farm policy is essential to protect the viability of the cotton industry and commercial agriculture in every part of the U.S," said cotton farmer Brad Heffington of Littlefield.
"I think we have a chance for the first time in my lifetime to see some very dramatic changes." said Brad Bouma, a dairy producer from Plainview.
Bouma was very confident after his testimony.
"Ideal for dairy farmers would be to have two basic prices for milk one that creates a price for fluid milk that you see in the supermarket everyday and then one that creates a price for all other venues of milk, whether that's cheese or powder, or products that we use here in the U.S. and export as well," said Bouma.
An idea that can only boost our state and local economy, but one issue Congressman Neugebauer hopes to see updated is crop insurance guidelines.
"What we hear time and time again from our producers is that the current crop insurance program is not working well for them it doesn't cover the risks that they are taking, it doesn't give them adequate coverage, doesn't give them very many choices," said Neugebauer.
Ideal would be to see better coverage, more flexibility and a tool that allows producers to manage those risks.
"One of things that you have to do is have a farm bill that covers all of agriculture it would be nice if one size fit all, but what you heard from of the witnesses just awhile ago is that one size does not fit all," said Neugebauer.
A couple hundred people attended Monday's hearing, but if you missed it, and would like to give your feedback about the future of the farm policy click here: http://agriculture.house.gov/index.shtml
©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.