Farm Bill: Senate Agriculture Committee Advances Legislation
David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “Landmark farm legislation cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday, promising wholesale changes in commodity programs but also opening up a major breach with Southern growers angered by what they see as an unfair tilt toward the Midwest Corn Belt.
“The 16-5 vote—counting proxies — underscored the regional split, with two former Agriculture chairmen from the South and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from the border state of Kentucky joining in the opposition.
“The action followed a long night of final adjustments in what proved a vain attempt to buy unity. Cotton won concessions on its own revenue protection program, including a decision to lift the acreage cap on land enrolled. But the leadership resisted any return to a countercyclical program with target prices, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) bluntly warned that peanuts and rice will take a ‘huge hit’ and are left ‘without any safety net whatsoever.’” (Note: To listen to detailed remarks from Sen. Chambliss at yesterday’s markup in which he methodically explains some of the unique characteristics of peanut and rice production, and how these differences translate into desired policy options that are separate from Midwestern corn and soybean operations, just click here (MP3- 6:12)).