Pennsylvania Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Ranking Member of the House Ag Committee, was in Indiana Thursday for a Farm Bill listening session with fellow ag committee member Jim Baird. Thompson says this is about the 29th state he’s been in over the past year or so gathering info for the next Farm Bill.
A consistent theme he’s heard from farmers and farm groups everywhere is how important crop insurance is and that it needs to remain intact. He says crop insurance is one of the items that gets attacked by members of Congress each time a Farm Bill comes up.
“I think it’s ignorance. There are those who just don’t understand it. Crop insurance is not like buying fire insurance. If you suffer a devastating loss, if your house burns down, fire insurance, by and large, is going to rebuild your house. That’s not crop insurance. Crop insurance is a public/private partnership. Farmers have skin in the game; they make an investment. It’s really trying to deal with weather… Weather has a huge impact on agriculture, probably more than any other industry.”
Thompson and his colleagues are trying to clear up that confusion.
“A couple years ago, probably 4 years ago, we formed a crop insurance caucus. That’s where we use that to educate both members and their staff on what the realities are of crop insurance. It’s a public/private partnership. I expect, as we go through this next Farm Bill process in 2023, there will be some amendments that will try to attack crop insurance, but, as I like to say, I don’t like a fair fight. So, that’s my approach. We’re working to proactively educate members of Congress and their staff about just how successful this program is and how important it is.”
Both the Senate and House ag committees have traditionally been known to be very bipartisan, but concerns have surfaced recently indicating that may no longer be the case. Asked if politics will get in the way of this Farm Bill, Thompson says, “I hope not”.
“The agriculture committee continues to be very bipartisan. Now, we’ve had our moments the past little over a year. The two budget reconciliation bills that were imposed upon the committee, really by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership, were awful. It was the first time I’ve really seen the insertion of partisan politics into the agriculture committee. But it didn’t come from the members on the committee, it didn’t come from the staff, it came from the democratic leadership.”
Thompson adds that it feels like they are behind schedule in getting this Farm Bill crafted, saying the majority party hasn’t really moved on having listening sessions in D.C. with only one to date.