In addition to U.S. producers enduring one of the worst droughts in 56 years, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture pointed out that production costs are also on the rise for U.S. farmers.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) noted in its annual Farm Production Expenditures Annual Summary yesterday that, “Farm Production Expenditures in the United States is estimated at $318.7 billion for 2011, up from $289.1 billion in 2010. The 2011 Total expenditures rose 10.2 percent compared with 2010 Total expenditures. All expenditure items except Interest and Labor increased from the previous year.”
The NASS report indicated that, “In 2011, the United States Total farm expenditure average per farm is $146,653 compared with $131,821 in 2010, an increase of 11.3 percent. On average, United States farm operations spent $25,129 on Feed, $17,075 on Farm services, $13,163 on Livestock, poultry and related expenses, and $12,334 on Labor. For 2010, United States farms spent an average of $20,705 on Feed, $16,281 on Farm services, $11,128 on Livestock, poultry and related expenses, and $12,450 on Labor.”
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Jennifer Steinhauer reported in today’s New York Times that, “An effort to provide emergency aid for American ranchers and farmers reeling from a year of drought, frost and other calamities collapsed on Thursday as members of Congress departed for their five-week August recess, leaving behind a pile of unfinished legislation as they go home to campaign for re-election.
“After refusing to consider a sweeping five-year farm measure, House Republican leaders jammed through a short-term $383 million package of loans and grants for livestock producers and a limited number of farmers. The measure passed 223 to 197, a narrow margin for a bill that has an impact on so many states. But Democrats balked in protest over the way the farm legislation has been handled and some Republicans objected to the costs.
“Democratic leaders in the Senate, which had already passed a bipartisan five-year bill, refused to take up the House measure, faulting House Republican leaders for failing to consider the broader legislation in time.”
The Times noted that, “‘I’m not passing a bill that only covers some producers,’ said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“Moments after the House passed its bill, Ms. Stabenow took to the Senate floor to say that lawmakers would instead work informally over the August recess to try to put together a new measure to present to Congress when it meets in September. The White House would have considered the House measure, but she resisted, Senate aides said.” [Note: Sen. Stabenow's full remarks from yesterday on the floor can be heard here (MP3- 18:02) , while a key portion of her remarks can be heard here (MP3- 2:48)].
“Ms. Stabenow, who worked for months to arm-twist resistant Senate colleagues on both side of the aisle to usher her bill through her chamber, said she would begin meeting with House agriculture leaders on Thursday night. ‘I am extremely hopeful that we can get together around what really needs to be done, which is a five-year farm bill,’ she said.”