The House Ag Committee will meet to consider the farm bill draft authored by Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson Wednesday. Lucas says the pair tried to craft a balanced, reform-minded, fiscally-responsible bill. He says the response from folks out in the countryside has been pretty positive. Lucas says the committee will go through the bill title by title. The titles will be opened for amendment by members from both sides of the aisle. Amendments will be debated, discussed and voted on as they come up. The House Ag Chair isn’t sure how many days the process will take. But aside from suspending mark-up for votes on the House floor – as long as Ranking Member Peterson agrees – Lucas would like to push on until the committee completes its work.
Farm Bureau Sees Room for Improvement in House Farm Bill Draft
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says there is room for improvement in the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill. While he says the draft legislation addresses many of the group’s policy priorities – Stallman says they hope there will be opportunities to make adjustments and refinements.
Stallman praises the leadership’s decision to stand firm on limiting the reductions in savings to 14-billion dollars in the commodity title and six-billion dollars in the conservation title – as well as the decision to protect and strengthen the federal crop insurance program without reducing its funding. But Farm Bureau believes some areas would benefit from additional work. Farm Bureau has concerns that some program options will cause planting decisions to be based on farm program benefits that accrue more beneficially to a particular crop. They would also like to see the net effect of the Revenue Loss Coverage (RLC) Eligible Acres provisions addressed to ensure a true planted acres approach as opposed to recreating base acres issues that raise equity and planting distortion concerns. Farm Bureau also mentions re-instituting the payment limitations and Adjusted Gross Income provisions of current law and making payments from the RLC program in a timely manner and simplifying the base acre calculation requirements.
According to Stallman – Farm Bureau fundamentally supports a single program option for the commodity title that extends to all crops. He says the group believes the safety net should be comprised of a strong crop insurance program – with continuation of the marketing loan program and a catastrophic revenue loss program based on county level losses for each crop. Stallman also urges the continuation of the current marketing loan program; rejection of any provision linking conservation compliance with crop insurance; mandating that the Risk Management Agency develop a revenue insurance program that meets the needs of peanut producers by 2013; eliminating the dairy price support program and the Milk Income Loss Contract program, using the funds associated with those programs to offer a voluntary gross margin insurance program for dairy producers; and maintaining the current sugar program.
Source: NAFB News Service