FarmPolicy

August 18, 2019

Farm Bill; Renewable Energy-Biofuels; Trade; Climate Issues; and Financial Regulation

Farm Bill

Chris Clayton reported yesterday at DTN (link requires subscription) that, “The 2012 farm-bill debate is just beginning, but already battle lines are forming over the benefits of the current safety net versus a single, super crop-revenue assurance program.”

The article indicated that, “With its annual release of the farm-subsidy database this week, the Environmental Working Group pointed out the rising costs of crop insurance as part of the farm safety net. Direct payments and counter-cyclical payments cost $9.3 billion in 2009, while crop insurance cost $8 billion.”

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Farm Bill; Biofuels; Climate Issues; and Financial Regulation

Farm Bill

The Washington Insider section of DTN indicated yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “When Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared before the House Ag Committee’s first D.C. hearing on the 2012 farm bill recently, he didn’t attack farm program spending as some observers expected and as he had earlier. But he didn’t exactly come to discuss the traditional programs, either, or the problems they face or ways they might be improved. Instead, he focused broadly on all of rural America and described what he called severe problems there. And, he recommended a broad mix of agricultural, rural business and social programs in an effort to reverse the four-decade long negative trends he emphasized.

“Not only did he broaden the traditional USDA emphasis beyond agriculture, but he argued for something of a new agenda, defined by the need to work within a framework of ‘emerging ecosystem markets’ and integrate strategic rural development programs with ‘public and private sector considerations.’”

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Farm Bill; Food Security; Biofuels; Climate Change; and Financial Regulation

Farm Bill: House Ag Committee Hearing- Cheyenne, Wyoming

Bill Jackson reported today at the Greeley Tribune Online (Colorado) that, “A U.S. Forest Service official told a group of agriculture producers Tuesday that the bark beetle problem has reached epic proportions, saying ‘100,000 trees a day are falling and that will continue every day for the next 10 years.’

“Rick Cables, a regional forester with the U.S. Forest Service in Golden, said the dead trees will have drastic consequences on the watershed from those forests, which supply water to 177 counties in the western U.S.

“Water quantity and quality, conservation programs, the bark beetle problem and the nation’s dairy industry were topics topping the agenda Tuesday morning at a U.S. House Committee on Agriculture hearing to review agriculture policy in advance of the 2012 Food, Conservation and Energy Act, commonly referred to as the farm bill.”

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Farm Bill; Trade; Animal Agriculture; Ag Economy; Climate Issues; and Financial Regulation

Farm Bill: House Ag Committee Field Hearing- Fresno, California

Robert Rodriguez reported yesterday at the Fresno Bee Online that, “Help for struggling dairies, incentives for reducing air pollution and support for a legal farm work force are among the items on California agriculture’s wish list for the 2012 Farm Bill.

“Nearly a dozen farmers testified to members of the House Agriculture Committee during a hearing Monday at the Fresno City Council Chambers.”

The article noted that, “Jamie Bledsoe, a Riverdale dairy operator and president of Western United Dairymen, detailed how high production costs and low dairy prices have put many California dairymen in a financial tailspin for at least the last 18 months. Bledsoe urged the committee members to create a farm safety net program that looks not just at low milk prices, but also the high costs of grain, forage and energy.

“Also gaining attention during the May 3 hearing was a non-traditional farm bill issue — the call for immigration reform.”

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Farm Bill Hearings; Ag Economy; and Environmental Issues

House Ag Committee Farm Bill Field Hearings

(Editor’s Note: Friday’s update mistakenly referred to Jerry Hagstrom as DTN’s Ag Policy Editor. Mr. Hagstrom is DTN’s Political Correspondent.)

Friday, Des Moines, Iowa

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported on Friday that, “Farmers in Iowa told congressmen changes are needed in the farm safety net’s new revenue program as lawmakers cautioned about the fiscal challenges they will face trying to write the next farm bill.

“The House Agriculture Committee is starting work on the farm bill early and is raising questions regarding what should be changed in the farm safety net and crop insurance. On Friday, six members of the committee listened to testimony all afternoon at an Iowa field hearing. They heard from crop producers, livestock producers, a dairy farmer, a representative of the crop insurance industry and dairy and biodiesel processors.”

(FarmPolicy.com Note: An audio replay of Friday’s hearing is available here. To listen to opening remarks from Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) regarding some of the Farm Bill’s goals, as well as a perspective on Sec. Vilsack’s earlier testimony to the Committee, just click here (MP3-2:03). To listen to a portion of the closing statement from Rep. Lucas, in which he notes that, “Sometimes we work with administration and sometimes we educative administrations,” just click here (MP3-0:52).

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