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Jun 29, 2017

Judd Gardner and I have been friends for almost 20 years and I am very excited to have him on the podcast today to talk about the Farm Bill.  You will see quickly that he is extremely well versed in farm policy and the 2014 Farm Bill.

Judd grew up on his family ranch in Central New Mexico, attended Clarendon College, obtained his Animal Science degree from Texas Tech University, and his Masters in Agricultural Science at West Texas A&M University.

Since graduation, he has been in Washington DC working in agricultural policy.  Currently, he serves as a legislative assistant to Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.

We kick things off with a basic overview of the Farm Bill.  In the 2014 Farm Bill, there are 12 titles including commodity, conservation, research, nutrition, trade, and many others.  It is important to note that the Farm Bill covers far more than the classic commodity programs that most farmers are more familiar with.

Judd then offers a great discussion of the major changes to Title I programs in the 2014 Bill.  This includes the shift from the direct payment approach to allowing producers to select between the PLC and ARC programs.  As he explains, PLC is a program based solely on guaranteed reference prices with payments made if a national average price falls below the set reference.  ARC, on the other hand, is a shallow loss revenue program.  It is based on 5 year moving averages of county revenue--essentially county yields times a national price--dip below a certain level, then farmers receive a payment.  Additionally, he mentions the removal of cotton from being a Title I covered commodity, a change that has had major impacts on producers here in Texas.

Currently, Judd reports that Congress is essentially in a listening phase, gathering information about what is working and what is not working with the 2014 Farm Bill.  Soon, they will move into the writing phase where they begin actually drafting the language of the next Farm Bill.

Judd offers several predictions for the next Farm Bill.  He does not foresee a wholesale modification like we saw in the 2014 Farm Bill, but instead feels like we will see tweaks made to the existing design.  He expects farmers to still have a choice between programs similar to ARC and PLC and he says he believes that cotton will be written back into Title I in some way.

We wrapped things up by asking Judd for a law he would like to see changed.  He says he wishes we would change the way Congressional District lines are drawn.  Specifically, he says we should get away from gerrymandering to guarantee results for one party or the other.

While admitting that the best Mexican food is found in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Judd decided to go with his favorite restaurant in Washington, DC, Ted's Bulletin.

Contact Info for Judd Gardner


Links to information mentioned in the show

Overview of the Farm Bill