January 28, 2020

Farm Bill Factors; Trade; Biofuels; and Climate Change

Farm Bill Factors: Deficit

DTN Editor-in-Chief Urban C. Lehner observed on Friday at the Editor’s Notebook Blog that, “Every five years or so Congress passes a new farm bill, and in the run-up to every farm-bill debate, pundits predict that this time the bill will slash farm-program payments. For the 2007 bill, they said the federal debt, which had grown by $5 trillion under President George W. Bush, would force Congress to cut.

“Instead, when the bill finally passed in 2008, Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer denounced it as ‘reckless spending.’ True, some programs were trimmed to fund increases in others, but overall, Congress moved money around between programs and years. President Bush vetoed the bill as a budget-buster. Congress overrode the veto.

Now we hear rumblings that with the debt expected to grow an additional $10 trillion through 2016, the 2012 bill will slash farm subsidies. The American Farm Bureau Federation heard this the other day from Charlie Stenholm, a former Texas Congressman who spent six years as ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.”