January 27, 2020

Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; Trade; and Regulations

Farm Bill Issues

The Washington Insider section of DTN reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “When Congress drafted the 2008 farm bill, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., played a key role in assuring that fruit and vegetable growers were able to receive some federal assistance, something that had taken years to come to fruition. ‘It took multiple farm bills to get there,’ she recently reminded the press.

“At the time, Stabenow was a junior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Today, she is chairwoman of that committee, but even with her new authority and responsibilities, Stabenow’s ability to help so-called specialty crop producers is likely to be more limited than before.

“Fruit and vegetable producers said in 2008 that they were less interested in direct payments or price supports than in assistance aimed to opening new markets and gaining new customers for their produce. Stabenow says that in the 2012 farm bill she favors expanding a program of block grants to states to grow the market-building initiative, but notes that as with everything else on Capitol Hill, it will come down to the budget with which she will have to work.”