September 16, 2019

Farm Bill; and Climate Issues

Farm Bill: Background

The Washington Insider section of DTN indicated on Friday (link requires subscription) that, “Even though the 2012 Farm Bill debate is officially far in the future, there is considerable talk about the context — a coming budget crunch, the need to hold programs within the spending baseline and possible policy changes that could make programs more useful in modern, volatile markets. The House ag committee has held several hearings already this year, and this week Senate Ag Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., announced that her panel would follow suit. Her first hearing will be in Washington June 30.”

The DTN item added that, “And, certainly, politics is never far from the minds of any Congressional or administration leader in election years. For example, House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., took pains to say nice things to the press about Secretary Vilsack recently, in spite of the fact that he has often been quite critical of administration ag and climate change policies.”

Peterson then took Vilsack’s side in the issue of USDA’s image, and whether USDA and Secretary Vilsack effectively represent production agriculture. Chairman Peterson commented that he had heard that, ‘But I’m not sure that’s a problem. These guys need to calm down a bit. It’s not all about them. I sponsor a local food conference in my district every year. There’s a big market for local foods. I’m all for it. There’s plenty of room. This is not anything against commercial agriculture. There’s a market there and people want to fill that market there. Great! Organic is fine and there’s room for all of this. It is not one against the other.’”