LEHI, Utah – A sense of optimism is how Utah Farmers Union President Kent Bushman describes the mood at his group’s recent national convention in Santa Fe, N.M.
He says spirits are high after Congress passed the five-year Farm Bill earlier this year, after the last one expired in September.
“Two years of fighting back and forth back there in Washington, D.C. is finally over,” he says. “And we’ve got something in place that’ll help give a little certainty to farming.”
Bushman points out the Farm Bill delay caused some banks to pull back on loaning money to farmers who often survive on lines of credit.
He adds that the bill preserves things vital for farmers such as crop insurance and conservation programs.
Bushman says a priority for the Farmers Union is making sure that country-of-origin labeling on food products remains in place.
He explains how some beef processors are fighting the labeling rule because they can mix meats from other countries and make more money.
“They’ll just get cheaper cuts of meat out of Mexico and Canada and mix it with the American, and then they can say it’s packaged here in the United States,” he explains. “But it’s really not all-American beef.”
He adds that the Farm Bill also has funding to help young farmers start out and train veterans to farm.