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Wheat growers hope for farm bill

Wheat growers at Commodity Classic had one overwhelming message. They need a farm bill—and soon.

“It’s still our number one priority to get a farm bill this year,” said newly elected National Association of Wheat Growers President Bing Von Bergen. Von Bergen took office during the NAWG Board of Directors meeting during the 2013 Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

NAWG’s policy supports federal crop insurance at the level it is now, and Von Bergen said he thinks members of Congress should be proud that the program works as it should in times of disaster.

“I think members of Congress should be shouting from the rooftops that federal crop insurance works,” he said. “We had the worst drought since the dirty 30s last year. A terrible drought in the breadbasket of the United States, and thus the breadbasket of the world, and yet we don’t have anyone crying for an ad hoc disaster bill.

“Congress should be proud it created a system that helps, that keeps farmers on their places in times of disaster,” he added. “It should be a model for other programs and they should be just tickled it works like it does.”

Von Bergen cautioned against those who don’t understand the complexity of federally backed crop insurance from tinkering with the program.

“We don’t know how fragile a system it is, and the people who say it doesn’t need federal government dollars in the mix don’t understand the complexity of the federal crop insurance mix,” he said. In a time of volatile weather patterns, farmers rely on crop insurance to help them stay on the farm and farm the next year, he said.

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