January 23, 2020

Farm Bill Issues; Ag Economy; Biofuels; and, Immigration

Farm Bill: Senate Issues, Chairwoman Stabenow on C-SPAN

Pete Kasperowicz reported on Friday at The Hill’s Floor Action Blog that, “The Senate starts work at 2 p.m. [today], and will continue to debate the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744. At 5 p.m., debate will shift to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act, S. 954.

“At 5:30 p.m., senators will vote on an amendment to the farm bill from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), which would set up a pilot project for Internet projects in rural areas.

After that, the Senate should be in a position to vote on final passage of the farm bill.”

Philip Brasher reported on Friday at Roll Call Online that, “Farmers know they’ll lose $5 billion in annual direct payments when a new farm bill passes. But up until now, few growers have complained about that prospect, because they know they can still count on buying federally subsidized crop insurance.

“However, those popular crop insurance policies may start coming with some strings attached. The Senate farm bill (S 954) would add a means test to the insurance program for the first time and would also begin requiring policyholders to comply with rules for protecting wetlands and preventing soil erosion.

“‘There is consternation out here in the countryside,’ said David Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau, that state’s largest and most powerful farm organization. The crop insurance restrictions are ‘making the Senate bill less attractive to people,’ he said.”

Mr. Brasher explained that, “The House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill (HR 1947) contains no new restrictions on crop insurance. But several amendments expected to be debated on the House floor include proposals to cap the amount of premium subsidies any one farmer can receive. The conservation compliance measure and adjusted gross income limit also are likely to be proposed as amendments.”