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Chair Cheri Bustos Opening Statement at Hearing, "A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Economic Perspectives on Title I Commodities and Title XI Crop Insurance"

WASHINGTON House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chair Cheri Bustos delivered the following statement at today's hearing titled "A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Economic Perspectives on Title I Commodities and Title XI Crop Insurance."

[As prepared for delivery]

Good morning and thank you to our witnesses and to my colleagues for joining us at this early hour.

I am pleased to chair this hearing as producers around the country are in different stages of the growing season and dealing with varying weather conditions.

Winter wheat farmers in the south are starting harvest, with many dealing with historic drought conditions. At the same time, corn, soybean, oilseed, and sugarbeet growers further to the north are still trying to get their crops in amid widespread flooding.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill was written, farmers have experienced the economic impacts of a trade war with China, marketing and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, historic weather events, and now extreme volatility in commodity and input markets caused in part by Putin’s unjustified and unprovoked war in Ukraine.

In particular, the most consistent issue I hear about from farmers and stakeholders back home in Illinois is the price and availability of fertilizer, not only for their production this year, but also what it could mean for next year’s crop as well.

All of these conditions have had implications for how our farm bill programs have been functioning. And our intent with today’s hearing is to gather input from this panel of experts on what these conditions have meant for how our commodity programs have worked as a safety net and the role that the Federal crop insurance program has played in helping producers manage risk.

During the past year and a half, this Subcommittee has been focused on understanding the situation on the ground and the needs of our producers. We held a hearing on the efficacy of the farm safety net almost a year ago and heard important testimony from producers, a crop insurance agent, and an ag economist, and it is clear the situation is much different today than it was at that time. And earlier this year we heard from Under Secretary Robert Bonnie about the state of our farm bill programs.

Today, we have the privilege to hear from a distinguished panel of agricultural economists on the state of play and I look forward to your testimony.

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