U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly says the new U.S. Farm Bill is good legislation for the times the nation is facing, and he's traveling around the state this week talking to farmers about the bill.
Donnelly says the most recent version of the farm bill is strong in two important areas: a greater shift toward crop insurance and greater focus on conservation. The Indiana Democrat says past farm bills relied heavily on direct payments to farmers; the new bill does away with them almost entirely, which he says is better for taxpayers as well as farmers.
“What that has done is in effect been like a little bit of a guarantee in the background, that under extraordinary conditions like we had in 2012, that you won’t wind up in a situation with losing everything,” he said.
Donnelly says the farm bill also provides more funding for programs that promote conservation. For example, he points to more support for cover crops, which help keep nutrients in the field and out of the water supply.
“That we’re able to assist in putting in things like filter strips which help to keep our rivers clean and also helps to eliminate erosion and at the end of the day actually results in increased yield,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly says he’s gotten good feedback from farmers on the bill so far, noting the five-year bill provides stability for the Hoosier agricultural industry.