Arrington, Jackson talk priorities for upcoming Farm Bill

Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington, Amarillo Congressman Ronny Jackson stopped in Lubbock this week.
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 9:18 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington and Amarillo Congressman Ronny Jackson stopped in Lubbock on their tour to hear from producers on what was needed in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Congressman Arrington told KCBD he wants to fix the reference price to be a better safety net for farmers.

“Even if they get a good price the expenses or input cost are so much that there’s really no safety net,” Congressman Arrington said.

Arrington said there are constant devastating weather events which frequently lead the government to pass more ad hoc disaster programs that don’t always get help to the producer immediately.

Arrington suggests allowing the reference price to fluctuate when necessary.

“If we took the reference price and we indexed it so that it would float with the cost inputs and the inflation, that would be one way to solve it, but that costs money,” Arrington said.

To make the farm programs better and provide producers with what they need, Congressman Arrington said lawmakers need to look at the different titles in the Farm Bill. That includes things like rural development, research and food stamps.

“We’ve got to go and retool it and that means we have to reprioritize the various things within the 12 titles of the Farm Bill,” Arrington said.

The 2018 Farm Bill established a vaccine bank in case of an outbreak to help ranchers cure diseases among cattle. Congressman Jackson said it’s necessary and will be a part of the 2023 Farm Bill.

“It’s preventative medicine that will pay dividends in the long run in a very big way,” Jackson said. “So, it’s important and we’re working on it and I’m making it part of my push from my office in particular it’s some of the legislation that my office is pushing out right now.”

Congressman Jackson serves on the ag committee for this Farm Bill. He said it’s not looking like it will be signed into law by the Sep. 30 deadline. He said he hopes it will be before the end of the year.

“If that doesn’t happen what will most likely happen is there will be an extension to give us more time and so that we don’t disrupt them. We’ll have what we have in place now we’ll extend that for some period of time into next year,” Congressman Jackson said.

The Farm Bill is a five-year legislation. So, this is the first time it’s been negotiated since 2018, and once passed will be in place until 2028.