I am absolutely flabberghasted. I have never seen a politician say something so completely inept. Kevin Cramer, Republican candidate for U.S. House has just shown himself to be completely out of touch with North Dakota's largest industry. I'll explain below the fold.
As most probably know, the farm bill is set to expire at the end of September. House Leadership was unable to pass even a measly 1-year extension of the bill before it skipped town for a 1-month recess. Kevin Cramer was asked about whether or not it was vital to pass a new farm bill before the next one's expiration. He said something that for a farm state politician is absolutely unbelievable:
I think I don’t sense a great urgency at the moment that if a Farm Bill gets passed, or doesn’t get passed, it’s going to change the world. It won’t, because of course we have very high prices, we have great yields this year, at least in North Dakota, we have good crops, we have probably record sugar beet crops, we have a near-record wheat crop, we have, the row crops look awfully good, as long as we can get them up, unless hail or something should happen, that could be a problem. But I think he’s right in the sense that now, we probably can weather not having a Farm Bill.I don't know what universe Kevin Cramer is living in, but it certainly isn't this one. North Dakota crops may be doing fairly well, but they're about the only crops that are. The rest of the country is being ravaged by one of the worst droughts in decades.
The thing that most amazes me the most about this is that between the two sentences where he says that there's no worry about going without a farm bill, he explains the idiocy of his position: "as long as we can get them up, unless hail or something should happen, that could be a problem." Imagine for a minute that everyone's homeowner's insurance policies were suspended for a few weeks while Congress got its act together. Oh, and this is scheduled to happen during the middle of hurricane season.
And of course, we haven't even discussed the direct/counter-cyclical payments being suspended during this time. That's a whole other story.
Most importantly, though, farmers need to start planning now for what to do next year. Futures contracts need to be purchased for seed, you need to have an idea what the payments are going to be next year.
In North Dakota, just like in nearly every other midwestern state, farming is still the largest industry in the state, even with the oil boom, and twenty years from now, farming will still be the largest industry in the state. Kevin Cramer is either smart, or an idiot if he thinks it's a good idea to throw farmers to the wolves two months before the election.