This is the third and final day of the Farm Progress Show near Boone which has drawn big crowds of on-lookers, but far fewer buyers.
Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst was at the show this week and says she’s concerned about the faltering farm economy and the impact on Iowa’s farm families.
“Our corn has been below $3 for about a month now, so that is really tough,” Ernst says. “They don’t want to overextend themselves. So, when they’re out here looking at the wonderful, advanced technology, they have to step back a little bit. We want to know that our future is strong before they’re engaging anymore.”
Due to the downturn in the ag economy over the past few years, some members of Congress are discussing the possibility of rewriting the Farm Bill next year, but Ernst is hesitant.
“We know that once we open the Farm Bill, anything goes and I tend to believe that would be more harmful to our farmers than beneficial,” Ernst says. “We’ll have to sort through that. We’ll talk with other members and see what they think but I want to protect where we are right now.”
While many farmers are struggling with lower incomes, falling commodity prices and steady input costs, Ernst does not think it’s wise to seek remedies by changing the Farm Bill.
“Production is really hurting, the prices are hurting, so we’ll see where we go but I’d tend to push back against that,” Ernst says. “I don’t think we should be opening the Farm Bill. I’d like to hear specifically where they think it’s not effective.”
Farm Bills typically remain in place for five years. The latest one, the Agricultural Act of 2014, authorizes nutrition and agriculture programs across the U-S for the years of 2014 through 2018.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report)