Nebraska U.S. Senator Mike Johanns says farmers and ranchers have a lot in common with lawmakers in Washington. For the nation’s ag producers - Johanns says it’s a question of how to feed a growing population with limited land and natural resources to cultivate a crop or raise a herd. In Washington - he says it’s a question of how to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars - especially in the midst of a slow economic recovery.
Johanns says Congress is looking for a long-term budget solution - but there’s a great divide to overcome. With $17 trillion of debt, Social Security expected to be bankrupt by 2033, Medicare to be bankrupt in 2026 and the Social Security Disability Trust Fund to be broke in 2016 - he says it’s imperative for Congress to take every opportunity to reverse this course. Johanns says the farm bill is a great prospect for immediate, meaningful savings. Regardless of who comes out on top in the policy debate - he says the final product most likely will still save between $20 -30 billion. But he says it is more than a tool to achieve savings - helping farmers and ranchers feed and fuel the world.
Johanns says farmers and ranchers are prepared to do their part to help reduce government spending as long as they have the risk management tools they need to succeed - which he says lawmakers must be prepared to provide. But lawmakers are working with a limited pot of resources - he says - which means they must be committed to efficiency and priority. Though the farm bill isn’t out of the woods yet - Johanns says it stands as a model for fiscally responsible governance. A new long-term farm bill would provide certainty for the rural sector - which he says is very important for economic stability.