September 19, 2019

Additional Reaction to House Bill While Attention Shifts to the Senate

Categories: Farm Bill

Carolyn Lochhead, writing in Saturday’s San Francisco Chronicle, reported that, “The five-year, $286 billion farm bill that passed the House on Friday angered Bay Area food and environmental advocates who hoped to make the farm bill into a food bill, but they now turn their aim to the Senate to try to shift billions of dollars in crop subsidies to conservation, organics and local farm markets.”

The article added that, “Back home, progressives lashed out at the speaker, saying her reforms would lavish $1 billion on 13,000 California rice growers over the next three years — 10 times more than the $100 million allocated for conservation in the state.”

As attention turns to the Senate, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and others will play a pivotal role (FarmPolicy Photo).

Later, Ms. Lochhead explained that, “At a time of near record prices, reformers argued that lowering crop payments to wealthy landowners and agribusinesses would curb these distortions and free up money for conservation and food programs that would benefit more farmers and improve the health of Americans.

“They are turning their effort to the Senate, where the Agriculture Committee, as in the House, is dominated by those who support the status quo that benefits subsidized crops. But its chairman, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, is friendlier to conservation and nutrition programs than his House counterpart, Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and supports tougher payment limits.