National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and Klamath Falls, Ore., wheat farmer Brent Cheyne, testified in front of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit where he joined the “Producer Perspectives on the 2023 Farm Bill” hearing.
Cheyne highlighted NAWG’s primary farm bill priorities, including the importance of maintaining and enhancing crop insurance, both in terms of effectiveness and costs for farmers. It is essential that the effectiveness and affordability of crop insurance are not limited as it is the primary tool that helps avert cropping disasters and mitigate risks. The cost to purchase crop insurance has increased in recent years, and Cheyne encouraged Congress to allow higher coverage levels at more affordable premiums.
“Farming is a risky business requiring a strong safety net,” he said. “Wheat farmers rely on the certainty of the crop insurance program. In turn, the American people can depend on farmers who are able to continue to withstand natural disasters and produce the most stable food supply in the world.”
Cheyne also discussed NAWG’s request for Congress to increase the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) reference price. The statutory reference price for wheat has remained unchanged and has fallen far short of the cost of production in recent farm bills.
“Prices have now risen to the point that it would take a 62% decrease in prices before being caught by the safety net of PLC. When prices fall that far, there’s effectively no safety net at all for farmers,” Cheyne said.
As Congress continues to have hearings on programs authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill, NAWG looks forward to working with the members to help craft a Farm Bill that works for wheat growers in the U.S.