Key ag policymakers told a Farm Foundation forum, there is precious little budget room to do much tinkering with the next farm bill…and a ‘big tent’ approach will be needed to hold onto whatever dollars remain…
Chief House Ag Committee economist Craig Jagger told ag lobbyists, journalists and others in Washington, the main funding source for the ‘012 farm bill will be taking from one program to fund another - there will be no new dollars and likely, fewer….
“Federal budget has significant short-run and long-run problems, significant pressure for all committees that do spending, but reconciliation is on the horizon, the budget rules have been tightened, opportunities to add additional funds beyond baseline have been diminished.”
With just 6-point-4 billion a year for commodity programs - about 80-percent of that, direct payments - as of the last Congressional Budget Office baseline estimate in March… crop insurance was also pared about 6-billion through renegotiations…and some 38-programs, worth 9-billion, have no established funding after 2012….
“We authorized these programs, funding needs to come from other ag programs or other non-ag sources. Of course, in reality we can all think of some of those programs that we think probably don’t need to be continued, but someone certainly thinks they do.”
FAPRI’s Pat Westhoff says as higher crop prices since ’07 have reduced marketing loans and countercyclical payments, those higher prices have run up crop insurance premiums—and government subsidies….
“With crop insurance becoming a larger share of total federal spending now, that means that we can actually have a situation where higher prices actually translates to more government spending on agriculture, not less.”
Ferd Hoefner with the Sustainable Ag Coalition argued in the present budget climate, it will take more political effort than ever before to write a farm bill….
“It’s going to really take coalition building above and beyond anything we’ve seen before, and we’ve seen a lot of coalition building around the farm bill before. But, to get…in this fiscal climate it’s going to take everybody working extra hard on that score.”
Former Texas Congressman and House Ag member Charlie Stenholm says several government reports on dealing with the deficit have all listed cuts to farm spending as a top recommendation.
Follow previous 2012 Farm Bill coverage (Sept 9)
Follow previous 2012 Farm Bill coverage (Aug 9)...