Pursuing The Farm Bill, Value-added
Gerald Lacey, President MN Barley Growers Association
Prairie Grains is the
|Never has there
been a mark-up of a new farm bill that has been as
unconventional as this year. We have a Senate Ag
Committee Chair (Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.) whod
like farm programs vanquished. Also, a House Ag Committee
which could not agree on a farm bill and had to go to the
House Budget Committee for approval.
Thereve been fewer public hearings and a lot of partisan bickering. We can say that as far as barley is concerned, we have been involved closely to assure that the crop is treated fairly in the legislation.
The best we can likely hope for is a reduction in proposed cuts when a compromise agreement from both sides is reached. I can assure producers that we will keep the majority to its word of reducing regulations and red tape, so we can be as competitive as possible in the world market.
Aside from the farm bill, one of the biggest projects the MBGA has been working on is value-added. The MBGA has played a key role in leading a steering committee of small grain growers to search for value-added opportunities.
There are some real possibilities on the table which we are evaluating that would focus on barley. If a project we are looking at gets a green light and moves ahead, there will be an announcement made to growers.
As opposed to all the negatives surrounding the farm bill debate, it is encouraging to see the positive direction growers are taking to have a greater influence over the processing of their commodities.
Indeed, as the government continues on the road of reduced agricultural spending, producers have to look at other revenue sources. Processing or adding value to their raw commodities should be an option for growers to consider on how they may help themselves in returning more profit to their bottom line.
Always, the MBGA appreciates grower support and encourages direction and involvement in its activities.
Be sure to attend our convention Dec. 12-13 at the Holiday Inn in Fargo. At 4 p.m. the first day we will hold MBGA board elections. Up for re-election are Curt Swanson of District 1 (northern MN), Allan Haugo of District 2 (central MN), and Steve Blilie of District 3 (southern MN).