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New farm bill

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

New farm bill

The 2014 Farm Bill provides stability for farm families as they make food production decisions now and for years to come.

The new farm bill includes a much stronger crop insurance program that should help farmers purchase enough insurance to better protect themselves from severe losses due to extreme weather disasters. It should also encourage additional farmers who have not acquired crop insurance in the past to do so.

More than 79 percent — nearly $4 out of every $5 in farm bill spending — supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which funds food stamps and other food nutrition programs. Crop insurance accounts for 9.4 percent, conservation programs for 6 percent, commodity programs for 4.6 percent and 0.9 percent for other areas.

Pennsylvania dairy farmers, who are the fifth largest producers of milk in the United States, will also have an opportunity to reduce their overall risk through a new dairy gross margin insurance program. The goal of the margin insurance program is to provide more stability to an industry with historically volatile milk prices and extremely tight profit margins.

Carl T. Shaffer

Mifflin Township, Columbia County

The writer is the president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

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