Tag Archives: fiber

Specialty Crops and the Farm Bill

Corn 5In a recent Focus on Agriculture column, Barry Bushue, vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said it is important to not only have a “robust array of crops” produced diversely, but it is also important to have a farm bill “which helps farmers and ranchers deal with risks that threaten their ability to produce the food, fiber and fuel we all need.”

Congress has taken a recent interest in “specialty crops,” which accounts for approximately 17 percent of the $391 billion in agriculture cash receipts last year. And starting with the next farm bill, Bushue said Farm Bureau’s proposed new specialty crop insurance programtomatoes 2 – the Stacked Income Protection Plan – would cover apples, tomatoes, potatoes, grapes and sweet corn. (STAX would also cover the so-called program crops grown by farmers, including field corn for livestock, soybeans, wheat, rice, etc.)

STAX was created to give farmers a fiscally responsible and effective safety net administered by the Agriculture’s Department’s Risk Management Agency. The crops selected by Farm Bureau for STAX coverage ranked in the top 13 in value of production in the U.S., represent at least 2 percent of the nation’s value of production and are produced in at least 13 states.

Agricultural conversations

A thought occurred to me today as I was leaving people voicemails. I’m in the habit of saying “talk with you soon,” rather than what I hear in voicemails as, “talk to you soon.” I don’t want to come across as someone with all the right answers, but isn’t talking with someone so much nicer than being talked to?

In the agricultural “world,” we have a tendency to talk to people about what we do. What I find to be more fulfilling is having conversations with people about agriculture, rural living, urban and suburban lifestyles and all the things in between.

Think about this: in school, was it more effective to have your instructor teaching you methods to use later in life or explaining how to do something and why, or was it more effective for that instructor to be demeaning or say you were wrong without an explanation?

Having conversations about food, plants and animals and other “aggie” things should be just that – a conversation. Talking down to someone, assuming an attitude that someone cannot understand agriculture and arguing or getting openly frustrated with someone are not ways to build a positive relationship with others over agricultural discussions. Instead, try to see things from the other person’s view, answer questions and ask some questions yourself.

And now that I’ve talked typed to you, what do think? Have you been in these conversation situations – good or bad – that influenced your behavior the next time around?