November 21, 2019

Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; and, Immigration

Farm Bill Issues

Laura Misjak reported yesterday at the Lansing State Journal Online that, “Sen. Debbie Stabenow is ready for round two of retooling the federal farm bill, legislation she said impacts jobs and the economy just as much as the agriculture sector.

“‘Sixteen-million people work in America because of agriculture and one in four people in Michigan have a job because of the food and agriculture industry,’ Stabenow said in her ‘State of Michigan Agriculture’ speech this morning to more than 200 people at the Michigan Agri-Business Association’s 80th Annual Winter Conference at Lansing’s Radisson Hotel.

“‘I needed to care about every page because Michigan is on every page (of the farm bill).’”

The article added that, “‘For the first time ever the House of Representatives would not take up that bill,’ [Chairwoman Stabenow] said. ‘I know there was enough bi-partisan support that if it had been brought up, it would have passed.’”


Farm Bill; Budget Issues; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill

Christopher Doering reported in yesterday’s Des Moines Register that, “Congress gave farmers a brief reprieve with a nine-month farm bill extension as part of the recent ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations, but the relief could be short-lived if the fights looming in Washington on spending force deeper cuts in agriculture programs.

“The bare-bones extension keeps many of the existing farm programs in place, including direct payments and crop insurance. But Congress must now work on crafting a new five-year $500 billion farm bill, a task complicated by growing calls in Washington to reduce spending. In the next few months, Congress will have to address increasing the country’s debt ceiling along with the looming sequestration, the name given to the series of automatic spending cuts that would take place on March 1 unless Washington acts.”


Farm Bill; Labor; Budget; Ag Economy; and, Trade

Farm Bill Issues

Robert Pore reported late last week at the Grand Island Independent (Neb.) Online that, “While U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., expresses frustration that a new Farm Bill wasn’t passed during the last session of Congress, he expects the new Congress to approve one.

But a new Farm Bill will face new funding realities as Congress tackles the debt ceiling and spending cuts needed to address the growing federal debt, which has exceeded $16 trillion.”


Video Clip: A Look at the Farm Bill Extension

Categories: Farm Bill

From WCAX Television (Burlington, Vt.), Jan. 11- Judy Simpson of WCAX, takes a closer look at the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill and includes perspective from a Vermont dairy producer, as well as Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.).

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-


Video Clip: Sen. Casey Pushes for Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

From CBS 21 Television News (Harrisburg, Pa.)- Senate Agriculture Committee Member Bob Casey (D., Pa.) spoke briefly about the Farm Bill this week, and noted that, “he will push for Congress to work on a farm bill this year.”


Farm Bill- Policy Issues; Ag Economy; and, Biofuels

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Tim Carpenter reported earlier this week at The Topeka Capital-Journal Online that, “Sen. Pat Roberts promised Kansas farmers Wednesday he would dig his boot heel into formation of a new five-year farm bill covering crop insurance, production incentives and nutrition programs.

“The Kansas Republican, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said during a Topeka meeting of the Kansas Soybean Association that decline in the number of farmers in the U.S. House and Senate weakened the political coalition that traditionally gave rise to federal farm legislation.

“‘I have member after member after member say, ‘Agriculture? Let’s cut it.’ It’s going to be tough sledding, folks,’ Roberts said.”

The article added that, “‘We didn’t have any responsible solution except to extend that [Farm] bill with the opposition we faced in the House. It wasn’t the best possible bill. It was the only bill possible,’ Roberts said.

“He said retention of the old farm bill could serve the interests of some Kansas farmers suffering from a third year of drought because direct payments would be available. These producers will be eligible for relief without passage of a separate disaster aid bill, he said.”


Policy Issues: Drought, Farm Bill, EPA, and the Budget

Policy Issues- Drought, Disaster

A news release yesterday from USDA stated that, “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to drought and heat, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. These are the first disaster designations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013.”

The USDA update noted that, “The 597 primary counties designated as disaster areas today correspond to the following states: Alabama, 14; Arkansas, 47; Arizona, 4; Colorado, 30; Georgia, 92; Hawaii, 2; Kansas, 88; Oklahoma, 76; Missouri, 31; New Mexico, 19; Nevada, 9; South Carolina, 11; Texas, 157; and Utah, 17.”

In 2012, USDA designated 2,245 counties in 39 states as disaster areas due to drought, or 71 percent of the United States,” yesterday’s update said.

In an exclusive interview yesterday on the Fox News Channel “Happening Now” program, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the ongoing U.S. drought and USDA’s response to the situation.

Sec. Vilsack also spoke briefly about the crop insurance program and the Farm Bill.

A video replay of Sec. Vilsack’s interview from yesterday (about six minutes) can be found here, at Online.

For more information from USDA on the drought and drought assistance, just click here.


Interview: Sen. Durbin Talks Farm Bill, Budget Issues

Categories: Budget /Farm Bill

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Il.) discussed the Farm Bill and budget issues in a brief interview today on WEEK-TV (Peoria, Il.).


Fox News Video: Secretary of Agriculture talks US Drought

Today on the Fox News Channel “Happening Now” program, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the ongoing U.S. drought and USDA’s response to the situation.

Sec. Vilsack also spoke briefly about the crop insurance program and the Farm Bill.


Farm Bill; Budget; and, the Ag Economy- Wednesday

Farm Bill – Policy Issues

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “While direct payments are included in the farm-bill extension, producers shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the check to show up this fall.

“Direct payments normally are sent out in the fall, which gives Congress several opportunities before then to step in and redirect USDA from issuing direct payments, which cost about $5 billion a year.

But barring action from lawmakers, USDA will plan to comply with the law and send out the checks, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.”


Farm Bill; Budget; and, the Ag Economy- Tuesday

Farm Bill- Policy Issues

Yesterday afternoon on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” program (“The Consequences Of A Short-Term Farm Bill Fix”), Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley discussed Farm Bill issues.  A summary of the NPR program indicated that: “Lawmakers in Washington extended some provisions of the farm bill that expired in October. Subsidies for grain cotton and soybeans will be renewed, and budgets for some organic and environment initiatives will be cut. Since the extension only lasts nine months, many farmers are left with uncertainty.”


Farm Bill Issues; Ag Economy; Biofuels; and, Food Safety

Farm Bill Issues

David Rogers reported on Friday at Politico that, “The top House Democrat on agriculture issues said Friday that it would be a ‘fool’s errand’ to try to resurrect a five-year farm bill in the new 113th Congress if there no promise of fairer treatment by the Republican leadership than the agricultural committees received in the 112th.

“Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson made his comments in a bluntly-written letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that vents all the frustration of past year in which the GOP leadership refused to bring a comprehensive farm bill to the floor.”

Mr. Rogers added that, “Indeed, the anger in the Ag committees is not only because of the lost opportunity for potential savings and reforms but the fact that they were shut out of even writing the final nine-month extension of the 2008 act. Lucas and Peterson crafted one together with the Senate, but Boehner never brought their bill to the floor and instead Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was allowed to set the terms as part of the New Year’s tax deal approved Jan. 1.”


C-SPAN “Newsmakers” with Sen. Stabenow (D-MI)

Categories: Farm Bill

From C-SPAN Online- “Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) talks about what’s next on the Farm Bill, after a small part of it was passed as part of the fiscal cliff package, with the bulk of it unpassed.”

Related clip from the interview below:

Some analysts see a rougher time in 2013 with attempts to pass a farm bill. Senator Stabenow has been critical of the farm measures approved this past week as part of the fiscal legislation, measures worked out by Senators Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. [See related floor speech on this issue from New Years Eve].

“She and Ranking Member Pat Roberts had worked together on a farm bill that passed the Senate in September but that was not passed in the House. The Agriculture Committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Thad Cochran, may want to change the bill, some analysts think. [Related audio from the interview on this issue here (MP3- 1:34); while a related clip on the SNAP program (food stamps) can be heard here (MP3- 1:53)].

“Senator Stabenow also talks about her views of prospects on other Senate legislation & Senate operations such as the filibuster.

“Our guest reporters this week are National Journal Contributing Editor Jerry Hagstrom and Roll Call Congressional Reporter Niels Lesniewski.”

The C-SPAN interview can be viewed here, and a related Roll Call article can be found here.


Farm Bill Extension- Reactions, Details

Farm Bill: Background and Reaction

Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick reported yesterday that, “A patchwork extension of federal farm programs passed as part of a larger ‘fiscal cliff’ bill keeps the price of milk from rising but doesn’t include many of the goodies that farm-state lawmakers are used to getting for their rural districts.

“House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders who spent more than a year working on a half-trillion-dollar, five-year farm bill that would keep subsidies flowing had to accept in the final hours a slimmed-down, nine-month extension of 2008 law with few extras for anyone.

With the new Congress opening Thursday, they’ll have to start the farm bill process over again, most likely with even less money for agriculture programs this year and the recognition that farm interests have lost some of the political clout they once held.”


New Ag. Comm. Member Gloria Negrete McLeod on “Washington Journal”

Categories: Farm Bill

Rep.-Elect Gloria Negrete McLeod (D., Calif.), who will serve on the Agriculture Committee, was a guest on yesterday’s “Washington Journal” program on C-SPAN. The complete interview with Rep. McLeod is available here.

In part, Rep. McLeod answered a question from a call in C-SPAN viewer on the food stamp, or SNAP program. Her response and brief comments on this issue are included below.


Farm Bill Perspectives Emerge; and the Ag Economy

Farm Bill Issues

Bloomberg writer Alan Bjerga reported yesterday that, “The fiscal-cliff settlement, which extends the most-recent agriculture law until September, is frustrating farmer groups that spent 2012 pushing new programs and now must start again under a tougher spending outlook.

“Congress’s approval of a one-year extension of the farm bill that expired Sept. 30 heads off government-mandated higher milk prices. It also preserves subsidies that even farmers call wasteful and makes plans approved by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and full Senate last year moot. Now back to square one, lobbyists and lawmakers may have an even tougher climb as cost-cutting rules the day, said analyst Mark McMinimy.”


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