Senate Agriculture Hearing Includes Testimony from Young Noxubee Co. Farmer

060424 Ag Young Famers Hrg 
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Opens Hearing on Clearing Path for Young Farmers, Ranchers.
VIDEO:  Opening Statement of Witness Christian Good of Macon, Miss.
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith and Christian Good Discuss the Challenges of Catfish Farming

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today stressed the need for Congress to use a new Farm Bill to modernize the farm safety net in order to better support and attract more young Americans to become farmers and ranchers.

Hyde-Smith is ranking member of the Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade Subcommittee that conducted a hearing Tuesday afternoon titled, Pathways to Farming: Helping the Next Generation of Farmers.  Christian Good, owner/operator of Christian Good Farms in Macon, Miss., was among the witnesses providing testimony at the hearing.

“It is especially important for us to consider the insight of producers and lenders as we continue to work on a new Farm Bill.  Let’s not forget that we have an incredible opportunity right in front of us to support young and beginning farmers by passing a strong Farm Bill,” Hyde-Smith said. 

Good detailed how operating under the old provisions enacted in the 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress extended to September 30, poses risks for producers.  He said young farmers are stressed by high input costs, commodity price downturns, high interest rates, and an outdated farm safety net.

“As we kick off the 2024 crop season, the lack of a meaningful safety net that our current farm bill provides is a real concern for farmers in my community,” Good said.  “The farm generally participates in the Price Loss Coverage, PLC, program provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency, designed to provide a price floor that we receive.  The statutory reference prices in the 2018 Farm Bill are so outdated that I can confidently say that if we were to receive those prices for corn and for soybeans, my farm and my family’s farm would be out of business.”

“I highlight these challenges to provide some context into the importance of Congress passing a strong farm bill in 2024 for the future of all farmers, especially those beginning young farmers,” Good added.

Members of the subcommittee stressed the need for a new five-year Farm Bill to increase access to risk management tools and credit programs for young and beginning farmers.  Only 9 percent of American farmers are under the age of 35 with the overall average age of an American farmer being 58 years old.

“I am grateful that people like our witnesses today were either able to get into farming on their own, or return home to rural America to continue their families’ farming traditions.  However, without updating a Farm Bill to meet their current needs, their ability to continue farming, and the abilities of other young people to get into agriculture or stay in agriculture, will be severely compromised,” Hyde-Smith said.