Farm Bill and Policy Issues
Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday at Agweek Online that, “As the Senate appears ready to take up a farm bill that would make payments to farmers when their revenue goes down, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., says after spending a week in his district, he is determined to put a target price and countercyclical payment program in the House version of the bill.”
Mr. Hagstrom explained that, “The core of the commodity title that Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have written is a program that would make payments to farmers for some of the losses not covered by crop insurance. But those payments would be based on the difference between a farmer’s revenue and a five-year Olympic average of revenues in past years. Peterson said this system would mean that if there were several years of low prices, the farmer’s base revenue would decline and so would any support. Therefore, he contends, the system of target prices that would trigger countercyclical payments should be continued and the target prices should be raised to levels in line with current commodity prices and the cost of production.
“Peterson said in a May 24 telephone interview that the farmers in his district ‘almost universally think (the target price and countercyclical program) is the preferred option.’ Peterson noted that the Minnesota Corn Growers Association ‘are on board with target prices,’ which puts them at odds with the National Corn Growers Association, which favors the revenue approach.”
“House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is also in favor of including the target price option as well as the revenue option in the farm bill, which assures that target prices will be in the House bill,” yesterday’s article said.