Minnesota Farmfest was back in person this year after being held virtually in 2020. The annual event covered numerous hot-button topics, including the future of farm policy. The next farm bill is only two years away. A cross section of experts covered everything from conservation and sustainability to crop insurance and ag concentration.
Farm leaders like Zippy Duvall agree the next farm bill needs to continue to provide a safety net for farmers.
"The centerpiece or the cornerstone I guess you would say of the farm bill is our risk management programs, crop insurance we've got to make sure we protect that," said Duvall, American Farm Bureau president.
However, former USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey said that doesn't preclude some type of disaster program to eliminate the need for ad hoc assistance.
"What do we do in years like this when we've got a whole lot of producers that all they get is crop insurance and they need a little bit more to tide them over?" he asked.
There will also be a new emphasis on the conservation title but National Farmers Union president Rob Larew said those programs must be voluntary.
"Whether it is on working lands or some room for a CRP type contract or even shorter term contracts so folks can maybe even look at getting those conservation program benefits but also looking to the market for signals," he said.
National Corn Growers Association Vice President Tom Haag said the challenges will be working with a mostly urban House Ag Committee and mostly new leadership.
"We got Sen. Stabenow back on the Senate side but on the House side we have two new individuals that yeah they were on the committee but they weren't in the position they are in now," he said.
Farm group leaders say they'll soon be gathering input and developing policy to take to Washington to shape the farm bill.