House Ag Committee Finishes Farm Bill Draft

The House Ag committee worked after the Independence Day holiday last week to unveil their farm bill proposal that’s estimated to reduce government spending by 35-billion dollars. It cuts agriculture subsidies and spending on food stamps and other government programs. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is pleased the measure is moving and the House Ag Committee will likely vote on it soon…

“Its good news that we have a mark and the committee will be acting on this bill. I expect it will be moved out of committee and likely some changes made to it. The other positive is the House has put more effort into providing long term price protection.”
 

Johnson says the most troubling thing about the House farm bill plan is the large amount of cuts…
 

“The level of cuts here are disproportionately very large. Agriculture is a very small part of the entire budget and the level of these cuts is many times larger than our proportionate share of the entire budget.”
 

Johnson says if it gets down to House and Senate Ag Committee leaders working together – the final package should come together with no problem. However – the real unknown is what happens when – and if – the bill hits the House floor…
 

“I think the real question here is once this gets moved to the House Agriculture Committee what will happen on the House floor. Will the leadership even bring the bill to the floor and if so, what will the members do to this bill?”


Johnson says another concern he has with the House farm bill proposal is that while it has an energy title – it provides no funding for it.
Dr. Mike Strain – President of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture and Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry – explains this version cuts 35-billion dollars over 10-years – compared to 23-billion in the Senate – and cuts food stamps by 16-billion dollars over 10-years…
 

“The House draft increases funding for specialty crop grants from 55 to 70 million per year, the same as the Senate. It increases funding for invasive species programs, maintains the current funding levels for the market access programs, the same as the Senate. It includes language from HRH72, clarifying that the clean water act NPDES permits are not required for compliant pesticide applications. It also has target prices for a number of southern commodities.”
 

Strain says there are a number of things for conservation programs – including the Conservation Reserve Program cut to 25-billion and EQIP at the same funding level.


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