Despite the vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the 2012 Farm Bill in the Senate the previous week – the week of June 11th did not yield many results. More than three-hundred amendments are now on the table. Some of those are related to farm policy and others are not. There is also discord among different agricultural regions and political parties. It leaves an unclear picture of what lies ahead for farm policy. As a result – Majority Leader Harry Reid announced there would be no votes on amendments until this week (week of June 18). That meant no votes on Friday. Actually – only two farm bill-related votes were taken during the week. A motion to table an amendment to phase out the sugar program was approved Wednesday. The Senate also agreed Wednesday to table an amendment related to supplemental nutrition assistance block grant program.
Effort to Restore Counter-Cyclical Payment Program in Farm Bill
One of the many amendments to the farm bill would extend the counter-cyclical payment program through 2017 for every commodity except upland cotton. The amendment – designed to answer concerns about commodity inequities in the farm bill – would also raise target prices slightly and lower the base-acre calculation used for payments. Target prices for wheat, soybeans, corn, sorghum and feed barley, malt barley and rice would increase. A new payment formula using base acres would be created – and a producer could only receive payments on 75-percent of planted or prevented acres – not to exceed 75-percent of base acres for the covered commodity established for the 2012 crop year. According to Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow – the amendment is an important contribution that will have to be studied.
Source: NAFB News Service