Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D, Mich.) addressed Farm Bill related issues on the Senate floor today.
Her remarks included perspective on the possibility of the House passing a short-term extension and disaster aid, in lieu of voting on a new Farm Bill. The Senate passed a new version of the Farm Bill on June 21 while the House Agriculture Committee passed an updated bill on July 12.
Senator Stabenow’s remarks run about 10 minutes and can be heard here (MP3).
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary, talks with Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle and Scarlet Fu about the impact of drought conditions on farmers and ranchers, the importance of Congress acting to provide assistance and coordinating with foreign leaders on supply concerns. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”
Bloomberg News reporter Alan Bjerga talks about crop insurance and the 2012 drought. He speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.”
Farm Bill: Recap of Recent Developments
The “Washington Insider” section of DTN reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday said GOP leaders are working with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R, Okla., and other panel members on the ongoing drought disaster gripping the majority of the nation. ‘We understand the emergency that exists in rural America. And we will address it as soon as possible,’ Boehner said.
“Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Monday suggested drought aid was a possibility. McCarthy, who represents an agriculture-heavy district, said Congress could move legislation to help farmers stricken by the drought. ‘If there’s something because the drought is greater today that we have to take up in the process, we will try to deal with that even by itself,’ McCarthy said.”
The DTN item noted that, “Boehner last week said that crop insurance should be sufficient to cover farmers’ needs this year, but key disaster aid programs for livestock producers have expired. Also, language in USDA’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget bars the agency from providing aid through a program (Section 32) that the department has used in the past to aid livestock operations for weather-related losses.
“The pending House and Senate-passed farm bills include livestock disaster aid programs that would be retroactive to this year. Separate bills have been introduced in the Senate and the House regarding those programs, but they also include an extension of the controversial Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE) that would be another crop disaster aid program for crop producers who already have funding for crop and revenue assurance programs. The SURE program had a separate $100,000 pay cap when it was available. CBO in the past has projected SURE costs at around $1 billion per year. It was not part of the Senate-passed bill, nor the farm bill that passed the House Ag Committee.”