Farmers Dealing With Increasing Financial Pressure and Low Commodity Prices
Agriculture groups are telling lawmakers farmers are facing increased financial pressure in an economic downturn brought on by low commodity prices. At a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing Thursday, the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union told lawmakers the downturn of the farm economy is forcing farmers to tighten their belts. Net farm income has declined from $123 billion in 2013 to an estimated $55 billion for 2016. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall told the subcommittee lower prices will affect income for all farmers and ranchers, but will have an even greater impact on new and young farmers.
The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee voted 11 to 9 along party lines to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for five years. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says the bill will provide relief from regulation to the end users of financial instruments regulated by the CFTC. Ranking Committee Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said the CFTC does not have the resources it needs to do its job and introduced an amendment for a user fee program to provide the agency more money. However, the committee voted down her amendment.