DTN writer Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer is butting heads with members of Congress over actual language in the 2008 farm bill and what Congress argues is the intent or way some provisions on farm programs should be interpreted.
“Schafer told DTN on Thursday USDA is ‘getting a lot of heat’ from Congress because of efforts to cut off the smallest farmers from receiving direct payments or counter-cyclical payments. Though spelled out in the farm bill passed earlier this summer, Congress wants USDA to be more flexible in shutting off people from commodity programs due to the provision eliminating farmers who own 10 acres or fewer.
“In a similar vein affecting commercial-sized farmers, USDA is having an ongoing tug-of-war over how to interpret the Average Crop Revenue Election program, set to begin by the 2009 planting season. Schafer argues Congress budgeted ACRE one way, but that it wants USDA to implement the program another way.”