August 18, 2019

Johanns on Farm Bill Direction

The Associated Press reported yesterday that, “The Doha round of global trade talks has made more progress than people realize and a deal could be close on key issues, a senior EU official said Monday…’While everybody has said that the talks are failing they have in fact been moving forward and we nearly have a deal on the key issues,’ EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.”

I. Farm Bill Issues
II. Doha
III. Biofuels- Commodities

I. Farm Bill Issues

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “The best way to strengthen the farm safety net is to add a provision that protects farmer income, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said on Monday, rejecting the idea of an ever-ready disaster relief program.

“‘The more you study it, the more sense it makes for farmers,’ said Johanns, referring to so-called revenue-based counter-cyclical payments. They take yields and prices into account. Counter-cyclicals now are based on price alone.

“Johanns lauded revenue-based counter-cyclical payments while meeting 250 members of the National Farmers Union, which wants the new farm subsidy law to authorize disaster relief to farmers and ranchers whenever severe losses occur.”

Mr. Abbott pointed out that, “Disaster-relief authority is a priority for the NFU and its allies in Congress for inclusion in the farm law being written this year. Two senior members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Democrats Max Baucus of Montana and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, support it. The committee chairman, Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa, prefers revenue-based counter-cyclicals.”

Chris Clayton, writing yesterday at the DTN Ag Policy Blog, reported that, “Johanns, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and groups such as the National Corn Growers Association and American Farmland Trust want to reform counter-cyclical programs to pay farmers on a per-acre revenue trigger instead of a national price trigger. The issue with these programs comes down to the best — and most affordable — way the new trigger would be defined on a county, state or national revenue.