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House Begins Work on Farm Bill

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The House approved the rules of debate on the amendments to the House farm bill and started debating the amendments Wednesday. There are 103 amendments to be considered. An amendment offered by Representative Bob Gibbs of Ohio to set target prices for all crops at 55-percent of the five-year rolling Olympic average was withdrawn. House Ag Chair Frank Lucas asked Gibbs to withdraw the amendment and promised to work with Gibbs in the conference committee to see an equitable and market-oriented farm bill enacted. Leaders from the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association and U.S. Canola Association were disappointed to see the amendment withdrawn. The groups believe the Gibbs amendment would have received strong support on the House floor and would have made the 2013 farm bill a better piece of legislation overall. In a joint statement – the groups said they expect Lucas to respond to the farm policy concerns raised by the amendment during Conference on the farm bill as he committed to do. According to the soy, corn, sunflower and canola groups – the final farm bill must be more equitable and market-oriented than the current Price Loss Coverage program in the House bill. NFU Highlights Stance on Farm Bill Amendments National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson has sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House to detail the organization’s stance on proposed amendments to the farm bill. He thanked the House Speaker, Majority Leader, Minority Leader and Minority Whip for advancing the farm bill process and asked them to consider NFU’s position on several amendments. In a non-comprehensive list – Johnson notes NFU’s opposition to six amendments – including amendments to set the reference price for all crops at 55-percent of the five year rolling Olympic average; to eliminate the Federal sugar program; and to eliminate permanent law for dairy programs. NFU supports amendments to reduce farm program payment limits – capping commodity payments at 250-thousand dollars per year for any one farm; reattach conservation compliance requirements to crop insurance premium subsidies; expand the availability of industrial hemp research; require a scientific and economic analysis of the FDA’s Food Safety and Modernization Act before final regulations are enforced; and to remove term limits on USDA guaranteed farm operating loans. Johnson also asked the House leadership to support final passage of the farm bill in order to give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to plan for the future. NCFC Asks House to Say No to Dairy Amendment The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives has expressed strong opposition to a proposed farm bill amendment that would change key components of the dairy reform package contained in the bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee. NCFC says the amendment from Representatives Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and David Scott of Georgia would effectively gut the market stabilization program from other parts of the dairy program contained in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. National Farmers Union is opposed to the amendment as well – specifically mentioning it in the letter sent to the House of Representatives leadership Wednesday. NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner says the dairy reforms included in H.R. 1947 are the result of years of hard work and consensus-building by dairy farmers, their co-ops and the National Milk Producers Federation. He says the program – which is entirely voluntary – has been carefully crafted and balanced to meet the needs of producers and consumers. Conner notes a similar amendment offered by the same Representatives failed during the bill’s markup in the Ag Committee – and says NCFC urges a “no” vote on the amendment on the floor.

 

Source: NAFB NewsService