NAWG Second Vice-President Bing Von Bergen traveled to Washington, D.C., last week for a meeting of commodity organization leaders to continue discussions about 2012 farm bill priorities.

Von Bergen met with the officer teams of the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, who were in town for other meetings. The chief executives and senior policy staff for the three groups were also in attendance.

The leaders reiterated their support for a comprehensive approach to reducing federal deficits and the growth of the national debt that includes all spending and that does make disproportionate reductions in agriculture programs.

This message echoed a letter recently sent to Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama signed by more than 130 groups.

The leaders also agreed to the principle that the Congressional agriculture committees should be allowed to carefully examine programs and determine cuts, rather than leaving such decisions to appropriations committees or the whims of a larger debt deal.

Though the groups did not agree to support or oppose changes to specific programs, they did agree that crop insurance programs are a critical component of the farm safety net.

Finally, those in attendance pledged to continue their joint educational efforts and discussions as major decisions about the federal government’s budget situation are made and as the timeline for writing the 2012 farm bill firms up.

NAWG leaders have met multiple times with leaders of other commodity groups, including those representing corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and peanuts.

While the NAWG Board of Directors has not yet endorsed priorities for the coming farm bill discussions, the organization’s policy calls for the 2008 farm bill to remain intact through the end of the authorized period.