Ag Policy Blog

Senators Want More USDA Margin Protection Tools

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee wrote USDA officials on Tuesday asking for the department to develop more margin protection tools, especially for various specialty crops. NASDA also came out with some policy goals for 2023 as well. (DTN file photo)

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., wrote USDA officials Tuesday to urge them to expand margin protection tools to address the increased risk associated with the elevated costs of fuel and fertilizer and volatile commodity prices.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger, the senators asked for the expansion of options beyond those currently only available to dairy, cattle, swine, rice, soybeans, corn and wheat so that producers of additional commodities can proactively manage risk. The senators also call on RMA to increase risk management education for both producers and agents.

"Many farmers are underway in their planning for fall fertilizer applications. Prioritizing the thoughtful and timely expansion of margin protection plans of insurance for additional commodities, as well as related insurance products designed for specialty crops, would allow producers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these tools and better manage production cost risks by next fall," the senators wrote.

- Senators' letter:…

NASDA Releases List of 2023 Policy Positions

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has released a list of the recommendations the state agriculture officials made at their meeting in Saratoga, N.Y., last week.

The recommendations include:

- Reliable disaster assistance programs;

- Expansion of funding for local and regional food processing;

- Water quality improvement incentive programs;

- Increased federal nutrition and food assistance;

- Increased funding for specialty crop promotion;

- More research and funding to discover best practices for responding to pollution from per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that impact farm and range lands;

- An enhanced Dairy Indemnification Payment Program and additional federal programmatic support; and

- Agronomic research and other timely and effective actions to remediate or prevent contamination.

Farm Bureau Recounts History of USDA Disaster Programs

The American Farm Bureau Federation's Market Intel service has published a history of federal agricultural disaster programs.

As some farm leaders call for a permanent disaster program in the 2023 farm bill, "understanding the history of existing disaster assistance programs and how they've performed under unprecedented volatility will allow for more informed recommendations," Daniel Munch, a Farm Bureau economist, wrote.

- Market Intel -- Revisiting disaster programs in the farm bill…

Walmart Names New Federal Affairs Director

Walmart has named Patrick Delaney director of federal government affairs in its Washington office.

Most recently, Delaney has been director of external affairs at the Senate Agriculture Committee under committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Before that, he served as communications director for the House Agriculture Committee when Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., was chairman. Prior to his service in Congress, Delaney worked for 10 years in policy communications positions at American Soybean Association and United Fresh Produce Association.

He holds a bachelor's in political communication from George Mason University and a master's in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .