October 19, 2019

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; and Trade

Farm Bill: Post Supercommittee, A Less Certain Path

Gregory Korte reported today at USA Today Online that, “A bipartisan congressional ‘supercommittee’ announced Monday it was unable to propose $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts. By its inaction, the 12-member panel failed to defuse the trigger mechanism on a budget bomb that will automatically cut defense spending starting in 2013.

Now the full Congress has a year to come up with offsetting cuts, or President Obama says he’ll implement the backup plan mandated by law, which also includes an equal amount of cuts in domestic spending.”

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to come up with a proposal into which a new five-year farm bill could have been incorporated means farm programs will be subject to across-the-board cuts at the same time Congress is struggling to write a new five-year bill in regular legislative order.

“House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has said that agriculture programs would be cut about $15 billion over 10 years, an amount that is less than the $23 billion that the House and Senate Agriculture committee chairmen and ranking members told the supercommittee they would accept in exchange for writing a new farm bill.

But the $15 billion cut will be much more concentrated in crop subsidies, conservation programs and crop insurance than if the agriculture leaders’ new farm bill had been accepted. And on top of that, the pressure not to reduce defense spending as much as the debt ceiling bill requires might mean that there will be pressure for an even bigger cut to agriculture programs.”