U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts stressed the importance of a strong crop insurance program at the Kansas Governor's Summit on Agricultural Growth.
“We need to ensure that producers have risk management tools at their disposal," said Roberts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. "Crop insurance is, for many, the most valuable tool in the risk management toolbox. During my visits, producers from across Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Alabama and nearly everywhere in between have emphasized the importance of crop insurance and other risk management tools as they navigate through a struggling farm economy.”
The Summit was held Aug. 24 in Manhattan, Kansas, and was attended by nearly 400 people.
Roberts said that it's important to put aside small differences in order to meet a larger goal of passing a farm bill.
“All of us understand that going into this farm bill, we are facing tough and critical times," Roberts said. "The challenges are great, but the opportunities are boundless.”
Roberts also talked about the need to reduce regulations.
"At a time when the agricultural economy is in a period of adjustment, it is important that the role of government be a partner, not an adversary, to farmers and ranchers," he said.
Strengthening export markets is another priority.
"At a time when the agriculture economy is in a rough patch, farmers and ranchers more than ever depend on trade that will increase demand for their commodities," Roberts said.
He cautioned that writing and passing the next farm bill won't be easy.
The government is spending money it doesn't have and the national debt is approaching $20 trillion, Roberts said.
"We are going to have to be judicious with scarce resources," he said. "We must ensure programs accomplish their fundamental purposes. We must ask tough questions and reexamine programs to determine their effectiveness."
Next farm bill
The first Senate farm bill hearing was in February in Kansas and the second in Michigan in May. There have been other hearings in Washington and Roberts said there will be move when Congress returns to Washington in September.
Roberts said tax reform is desperately needed and he's hopeful it can be accomplished yet this year. He asked his fellow Kansans to contact him to make sure they're getting things right with the reform.
"We will need your help to ensure that we are getting things right— structuring the system as far as possible to lower rates, ease tax burdens, and make our system the most competitive possible."
Source: Sen. Pat Roberts