The House Agriculture Committee's work on a new Farm Bill is entering a new phase. Stewart Doan reports...
Chairman Frank Lucas says the Farm Bill’s audit series achieved its goal of prepping the 46 member panel for future budget driven farm policy decisions, ”We’ve got to come up with ways to reduce spending and that’s what these 11 hearings have been about, getting ready for tough spending cut decisions.”
The ag panel is now heading to the countryside for field hearings, the first scheduled for September 24, in Springfield, Illinois. How many more will be held is unknown at this point, according to Lucas that will depnd on how quickly the special congressional deficit reduction committee decides how much money to cut from Farm Bill programs, ”If you’re anywhere from $10 to $50 billion in spending cuts over a 10 year period, that’s a huge amount of money when we’re only spending $60-something billion on the commodity title in that period of time. If it’s $30-40 billion, it becomes a lot more difficult to hold some form of the present framework together.”
The existing farm safety net framework is anchored by approximately $5 billion of direct payments that goes to grain, soybean, and cotton growers annually, regardless of market prices.