January 21, 2020

Grassley Gets Clarification on Farm Bill Spending Issues in Budget Committee Today

Categories: Farm Bill

An update from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) today indicated that,”During work today in the Senate Budget Committee on a budget resolution for fiscal 2014, [Sen. Grassley] affirmed that his initiative to reform farm program payments will be part of the Agriculture Committee’s effort to achieve $23 billion in agricultural savings sought by the Budget Committee and that, contrary to what the Budget Committee Chairwoman’s proposed budget says, all farm-bill spending will be on the table for spending reductions, including nutrition programs.”


Sen. Inhofe Highlights Ag Related Amendment in Senate Continuing Resolution Debate

Categories: Budget

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) discussed an agricultural related amendment to the Continuing Resolution on Wednesday.

Sen. Inhofe discussed the SPCC (Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure) amendment by explaining that, “This is a bill that for years and years has come up. It was originally designed for refineries that have very large amounts of storage, of oil, of propane, of all that type of material, and it was designed for them to have the necessary safeguards in place. Then, later on, there became a gray area. I ask the question because it has never been answered: Should they now be able to apply this to farms?

“Farms may have perhaps a little bit of propane over here and over here, someplace else, something else. It might add up to the 1,320 gallons at one time. If that is the case, then they would be under the same requirements as we currently have for refiners. I am talking about them having to do volumes and volumes of paperwork. They would have to purchase new double-lined containers and build berms around their storage facilities. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this could be an average-sized farm.”

A replay of a portion of Senator Inhofe’s remarks on this issue can be seen here:


Sen. Tester Discusses Ag Provisions in Senate Continuing Resolution

Categories: Budget

On Wednesday, Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) highlighted two agricultural related provisions contained in the Senate Continuing Resolution (CR) that is currently under debate this week.

A news release yesterday from Sen. Tester’s office indicated that, “Tester slammed the inclusion of two provisions that will hurt family farmers and ranchers while benefiting large meatpacking corporations and companies that develop genetically-modified crops. Tester said backroom deals replaced open government and vowed to strip the provisions from the bill.”

A replay of Senator Tester’s remarks on the Senate CR can be viewed here:


Bloomberg News: Is the Price of Candy About to Go Up?

Categories: Farm Bill

From Bloomberg News, March 13, “On today’s ‘Big Number,’ Betty Liu reports on the 400,000 tons of sugar the U.S. Department of Agriculture may buy to help sugar processors. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s ‘In The Loop.'”

A related Wall Street Journal article is available here, “Big Sugar Is Set for a Sweet Bailout.”


Rep. McGovern’s 5th ‘End Hunger Now’ Speech- Wednesday

Categories: Farm Bill

House Agriculture Committee Member Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) spoke on the House floor on Wednesday about hunger issues in the United States.

In part, Rep. McGovern noted that, “The truth is that hunger is solvable – we have the means, the infrastructure and the food to end hunger. We just don’t have the political will to do so.

“This point is delivered in a clear, concise and emotional way in a documentary that is in theaters now. Called ‘A Place at the Table,’ this film, at its core, may be a simple story of hunger in America, it’s really an emotional tale about how people are struggling with hunger in America. About piecing just enough together to make ends meet – day-by-day, week-by-week and month-by-month.”

Rep. McGovern added that, “As I’ve said over and over again, hunger is a political condition, one that requires action by concerned Americans. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen how so many Americans care about this problem and want to be part of the solution to End Hunger Now.

“And, I would, once again, urge the President to organize a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition to devise a plan to End Hunger Now.”

Rep. McGovern also spoke about U.S. hunger issues back on March 4th, February 26, February 14 and on February 5.


Budget- Policy Issues; Farm Bill; Biofuels; and, Trade

Budget: Sequestration, Senate Continuing Resolution

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) was on KFGO radio (Fargo, N.D.) yesterday where he visited with Joel Heitkamp about a variety of budgetary and policy issues.

An audio replay of the conversation is available here, while a transcript of yesterday’s interview can be found here.

In part, Rep. Peterson discussed food safety issues, the sequester and the Continuing Resolution (CR) and pointed out that, “What needs to be done is the agencies and the military need to be given flexibility. One of the problems with the sequester is that it says that you have to take each line item and reduce it equally. And in agriculture, for example, that caused a problem because the meat inspectors, for example, it’s 87% salaries. They’d already made significant reductions in administrative costs through cuts that we’d made before and they didn’t have, really, any way to avoid it, so they were talking about furloughing meat inspectors, shutting down meat plants potentially, and so forth.

“If the Secretary had flexibility so he could reduce his entire department by a percent and could decide how to do it, then he would have been able to keep the meat inspectors on the line and make cuts other places. So I think at the end of the day if we can get this CR worked out, I think you’re going to see flexibility in there, and that’s probably the best you’re going to get, and we’ll see how the rest of this plays out.”