Alfalfa farmers are asking lawmakers to put their crop in parity with other major crops in terms of public research funding and crop insurance.
National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance representatives made the case during their 8th annual Washington, D.C. fly-in earlier this month with nearly 100 meeting scheduled over the course of the three-day event.
NAFA members were kept busy building awareness and recognition for the nation’s fourth most valued field crop. NAFA Fly-In participants met with agency officials, regulators, as well as House and Senate Ag and Ag Appropriations Committee members to discuss NAFA objectives and issues important to the alfalfa industry.
When talking with staff from the House and Senate Ag Committees, NAFA brought attention to the need for risk management tools that provide an adequate safety net for forage farmers. Since alfalfa is not a program crop, current risk management tools contained in the Farm Bill, Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, are not available to alfalfa farmers. This situation incentivizes farmers to shift acres away from non-covered commodities into program crops.
Meetings were also held with staff members of the House and Senate Ag Appropriations Committees to discuss funding needs for the Alfalfa Seed & Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program and investments in research funding for alfalfa at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
NAFA’s DC Fly-In participants also met with:
the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure continued dialogue regarding crop protection tools important to alfalfa seed production,
USDA’s Risk Management Agency to discuss crop insurance products on par with other major crops;
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to discuss how best to use limited research funding to the greatest benefit of the alfalfa/forage industry; and
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to discuss the Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program.
“As the new Farm Bill takes shape, we want to ensure lawmakers are aware of the alfalfa industry’s priorities,” said Beth Nelson, President of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance.
Source: National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance