Brenda Kluesner (pictured below), Royal Bank, Cassville, testified today on behalf of ICBA on the 2018 Farm Bill. Her testimony presented five principles that should be incorporated into the next farm bill and discussed briefly the background of the current farm economic situation. Kluesner is a member of the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section.

Brenda Kluesner testifying on the Farm Bill.

She stressed the importance of farm programs to the agricultural sector from a community bank perspective. The farm bill, crop insurance and USDA programs are all essential to keeping a healthy farm economy. A strong farm safety net and ample funding for guaranteed farm loans can help prevent or alleviate a potential farm credit crunch from developing if continued low commodity prices persist over the next couple of years. 

The five principles mentioned were: 

  1. Congress should provide ample funds for commodity programs, crop insurance and USDA guaranteed loan programs to help producers weather a potential farm income or farm credit crisis;
  2. Changes should be considered to any programs under the House or Senate Agriculture Committees’ jurisdiction if the end result is to assist farmers and ranchers and the community banks that serve them;
  3. Congress should direct federal agencies to reduce regulatory burdens impacting producers and no regulations should be proposed or adopted that are not based on specific statutory or legislative language or which could add unnecessary or inappropriate regulatory burdens to users of various programs;
  4. Congress should require federal agencies to implement programs in a manner that treats all categories of participants or stakeholders in each program fairly;
  5. Direct government loan programs should be designed in a manner that compliment – not undercut – the lending activities of private sector lenders.

 A full copy of Brenda Kluesner's testimony is available here.