November 20, 2019

Farm Bill; Budget; and, the Ag Economy

Farm Bill Issues

Sabrina Eaton reported yesterday at The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Online that, “Rep. Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights – who has used her position on the House Agriculture Committee to protect the food stamp program – has been named a Democratic member of a House of Representatives negotiating team that will hammer out a compromise farm bill with members of the U.S. Senate.”

The article stated that, “When the House of Representatives adopted $39 billion in cuts to the food stamp program this September, Fudge noted the reductions were ‘almost ten times larger than those in the Senate bill and would make any chance at bipartisan agreement on a Farm Bill nearly impossible.’

“She said the bill’s changed eligibility guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would deny benefits to an estimated 3.5 million people in 2014, including about 29,000 people in Cuyahoga County and 134,000 Ohioans who are deemed able-bodied adults without dependents.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; and, Budget Issues

Farm Bill Issues

An update at the Red River Farm Network Online (viewed earlier this morning), reported that, “The farm bill conference committee has finally been named, but House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson says there are still a lot of problems. One big one everybody knows about is food stamps, but Peterson says there’s one problem we don’t know about. ‘What people don’t know about is this kind of knock-down, drag out war between the Speaker and I over the dairy situation. What he did was he expanded the committee to a much bigger level than has ever been done before so he could get enough votes to outvote me on the dairy stuff.’ Peterson informed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that this would impact her dairy farmers in California, so she removed Georgia Democrat David Scott from the conference committee, thus removing one no vote on dairy. Another big problem, according to Peterson, is what to replace direct payments with. ‘(Ag Committee Chairman Frank) Lucas and I want to go to planted acres and target prices to put a floor underneath things and actually help producers more than land owners. The Senate is going a different direction. They want to basically help landowners and make payments when people are actually making money, which we think is a mistake. So there are some other issues that are a big hang up.’ Peterson says there is no indication when the farm bill conference committee will get together.”

The Red River Farm Network’s Agriculture Today radio program included a report yesterday by Mike Hergert that featured remarks on the Farm Bill process from Ranking Member Peterson- related audio here (MP3- 2:00).


Video: Sen. Hoeven Notes Budget Savings in Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, John Hoeven (R., N.D.) highlighted the savings contained in the Farm Bill when discussing budget issues.


Farm Bill; Budget Issues, and the Ag Economy

Farm Bill Issues

Chris Clayton reported yesterday at the DTN Ag Policy Blog that, “Higher-income farmers and the crop-insurance industry are likely going to cope with reduced federal cost-cost share on crop insurance premiums.

“Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees passed farm bills out of committee without any income limits on crop-insurance premium subsidies. Through a bill amendment and a Sense of the House resolution, both chambers recognized that cutting back the premium subsidy is one small area of bi-partisan agreement among House and Senate leaders.

“The Senate farm bill lowers the premium subsidy for farmers making more than $750,000 in adjusted gross income, or $1.5 million for married couples. Those higher-income farmers would see their premium subsidy lowered 15 percentage points, from a maximum of 62% to 47%. The provision would affect about 20,000 farmers and save $1 billion over 10 years.”


Sunday Update: Farm Bill- House Names Conferees

Categories: Farm Bill

Pete Kasperowicz and Erik Wasson reported yesterday at The Hill’s Floor Action Blog that, “House Republicans and Democrats on Saturday named conferees to the House-Senate negotiations on the farm bill, in a sign that a three-year push to compete an agriculture subsidy and food stamp bill may finally be drawing to a close.

“Agriculture programs expired on Oct. 1 and the effects of the expiration will mount as farmers plan for upcoming harvests.

“Republicans named Rep. Steve Southerland (Fla.) as a conferee to represent GOP leadership and this is taken as a sign the House will insist on the $39 billion in food stamp cuts in the House-passed bill.”


Special Weekend Update: Farm Bill Process Moves Forward

Categories: Farm Bill

David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “The House agreed Friday to begin formal talks with the Senate on a long-delayed farm bill — giving back the reins to Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas to try to salvage some compromise after the often destructive, partisan floor fights of the past summer.

“The motion was quickly approved on a simple voice vote after a last political skirmish decided by a 223-189 margin on the rule. Also by a voice vote, lawmakers Friday evening approved a resolution urging House negotiators to support a Senate-passed provision that would trim the level of crop insurance subsidies for wealthy farmers with an adjusted gross income of $750,000 or more.

“The formal naming of the House conferees — expected to number about 22 members — won’t come until Saturday, but Lucas was clearly elated to have this step behind him at last.”


(Udpated) Video: Senators Highlight Blizzard Impacts on Livestock Producers

Categories: Farm Bill

On Wednesday, Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) spoke on the Senate floor about the devastating impact that last weekends blizzard had on South Dakota ranchers and highlighted the importance of passing a clean continuing resolution and a comprehensive farm bill.

Sen. Johnson indicated that, “One of the most significant impacts of the storm has been on my state’s livestock producers. ‘Tens of thousands of cattle killed in Friday’s blizzard,’ proclaims the Rapid City Journal headline.”

And on the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) discussed the impacts of a blizzard that brought devastation to the herds of livestock producers last weekend.

Sen. Heitkamp noted that, “Since last weekend, I’ve heard from ranchers throughout southwestern North Dakota whose cattle herds have been destroyed by the storm. The stories are just devastating. This early storm has cost many of our ranchers so much, and because of the government shutdown and the lack of a Farm Bill, they aren’t able to report their losses, make disaster claims, or get needed assistance.”

“These ranchers are just more collateral damage from the government shutdown and the expiration of the Farm Bill. Because we’re debating whether to fund the federal government or not, Congress isn’t able to work to pass a Farm Bill and focus on many other pressing issues. It’s time for Congress to stop its political bickering and do the right thing – for our ranchers, farmers, and many others who are suffering because of Congress’ inaction.”

And on Friday, Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) also went to the Senate floor to draw attention to the gut-wrenching loss of livestock in western South Dakota due to an early October snowstorm, and highlight the need for Congress to complete its work on a five-year Farm Bill.

Video replays of the floor presentations from Senators Johnson, Heitkamp and Thune are available below:




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

Farm Bill Issues

House Ag Committee Member Kristi Noem was a guest on yesterday’s AgriTalk radio program with Mike Adams where the discussion focused, in part, on Farm Bill issues.

Mr. Adams asked Rep. Noem: “Whether you are on it or not, are you hearing any indication of when those [House Farm Bill] conferees will officially be named and conference committee will start?”

The South Dakota Republican indicated that, “I think tomorrow.  I think tomorrow is when the announcement will come out.  But we’ll sure be willing to visit with you about it at that point in time, too.  But we’ve been told that the official release will come tomorrow, and then after that we’ll be actively engaged.”


Video: Farm Bill Special Order- House

Categories: Farm Bill

Several lawmakers took part in a Farm Bill special order on the Farm Bill today in the House.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R., Il.) noted that, “Lost in the discussions of the government shutdown and the debt limit is the fact that the Farm Bill expired earlier this month. Our farmers and our entire agriculture sector need the certainty that a long-term Farm Bill will bring them. I’m hosting this special order to give my colleagues the opportunity to speak on the importance of a Farm Bill and to reaffirm our support for finalizing a long-term bill as soon as possible.”


Farm Bill- Budget Issues; and, Biofuels

Categories: Budget /Ethanol /Farm Bill

Farm Bill Issues: Title I, Conservation Compliance, SNAP

David Rogers reported yesterday at Politico that, “The biggest wild card in the farm bill this fall could be an old-new idea from weathered West Texas with the nickname: SCO.

“That stands for Supplemental Coverage Option — a mouthful for what began as a pretty straightforward plan to let farmers buy lower-cost crop insurance based on county-wide losses, not those of a single farm.”


Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy, and Political Notes

Farm Bill Issues- Conference Committee, Livestock Concerns, Farm Payments

A news release yesterday from Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) indicated that, “[Rep. Noem] today said she has received an assurance from Speaker of the House John Boehner that he will appoint House conferees within the next week to the House-Senate Farm Bill conference committee. The naming of House conferees will allow formal Farm Bill conference negotiations to begin, bringing the Farm Bill one step closer to completion.

“‘Both the House and the Senate have passed Farm Bills and it is time to begin conference negotiations and finish our work on a five-year Farm Bill,’ Noem said.  ‘I spoke this morning at our weekly Republican meeting and described to my colleagues the devastation in western South Dakota that has resulted from the weekend storm. The lack of a comprehensive Farm Bill leaves all of our producers without the certainty they need.  This is especially true for our livestock producers who are currently without the protection of a livestock disaster program. After further conversations with the Speaker today, I appreciate him confirming that he plans to move forward and appoint conferees within the next week.  We need to move quickly to get a five-year Farm Bill completed.’”


Video and Transcript: Rep. Noem Discusses Livestock Loss in S.D.

(October 8)- Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) speaks on the House Floor about livestock loss in western South Dakota.

Below is a transcript of Rep. Noem’s full remarks, from the Congressional Record (at page H6350):

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, a record blizzard hit my State of South Dakota. Some places in the Black Hills saw almost 4 feet of snow in just 2 days. Thousands were without power. Thousands are still without power. Emergency vehicles were stranded along with the people that they were trying to rescue.


Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; and, GMO Issues

Farm Bill

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writer Sarah D. Wire reported yesterday that, “There is still a long way to go to renew the farm bill that expired Tuesday, members of Arkansas’ delegation said last week. And they aren’t sure how Congress will get there. The farm bill got little notice in the waning days of the federal fiscal year, with attention shifting to whether Congress would pass a resolution to temporarily fund the government.

The farm bill didn’t cover the 2014 fiscal year, so it would have ended, even if a short-term budget resolution had passed.”


Budget- Farm Bill; and, Immigration

Budget- Farm Bill Issues

Peter Schroeder reported last week at The Hill Online that, “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) vowed to bring forward more piecemeal spending bills Thursday, as he expressed confidence President Obama would eventually be forced to negotiate.

“In a memo sent to House Republicans, Cantor called the Democratic position ‘untenable’ and ‘unsustainable,’ adding that a steady diet of narrow funding bills would force Democrats to deal.”

The update noted that, “In recent days, House Republicans have advanced several bills targeting high-profile areas of the government impacted by the shutdown, such as national parks, veterans’ benefits and the National Institutes of Health.

“In turn, they have pressed Senate Democrats to take up the measures and ensure that at least some portions of the government can be funded while the two sides search for a broader compromise.

“Thus far, Senate Democrats and the White House have rejected that approach, pushing back on Republicans to accept a plan to fund the entire government at sequester levels.”


Video: Rep. Farr Discusses Farm Bill, Budget on House Floor Friday

Categories: Farm Bill

On Friday, Rep. Sam Farr (D., Calif.) discussed Farm Bill issues and the budget on the floor.

According to the Congressional Record (at page H6263), Rep. Farr stated that: “I rise in opposition to this piecemeal approach of funding our government. I am the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.

“The bill dealing with all of those issues is on the House floor. We did our job, as the chairman so eloquently spoke about. The committee fulfilled its commitment to review the whole budget. We passed H.R. 2410 out of committee and even adopted a rule to bring it to the floor in June, but we didn’t move the bill because the timing with the now-expired farm bill wanted to hold everything off.

I’m just wondering, Madam Speaker, when is the House going to announce its conferees on the farm bill? The Senate has done it not once, but twice. If we had a conference, we could be bringing up the full bill and not just this piecemeal—let’s take a little bit of this that we like and that that we like and do what I call this menu of choice, which, if you’re not on that menu, everything is out.

“Nobody can challenge my support on WIC. I mean, I am a returning Peace Corps volunteer. If there’s anybody that got training on the need for feeding women, infants, and children in this Congress, it’s my experience in living in a poor barrio in South America.

But this does nothing for the 48 million people who currently need food stamps, what we call the SNAP program. This does nothing for the rest of the kids and the family who may be hungry, going to school and can’t get access to school lunch. This does nothing to open the door for Federal workers who help people in rural agriculture to produce the food. This bill does nothing to provide a remedy for rural areas like Colorado and California, who were just ravaged by floods and fires, to do the post-op cleanup and restoration to prevent floods from coming this winter. This does nothing for the farm service agency loan borrowers to help those that are needing loans to put their livestock or their grain or other commodities into the program that is going to be feeding the women, infants, and children. So just one little piece that they carve out and suggest that: Oh, Congress, do this.

“I want you all to listen to this. Since I’ve been here since 1993, we’ve passed 111 CRs. Not one of them had this battle, had this conditionality, had this shutdown of government—none of them. Why now? What’s different? You want to take away the President’s health care bill. That was enacted 3 1⁄2 years ago. You passed a CR the year it was adopted. You passed a CR after it was adopted. You passed a CR after that. What is it? Let’s stop being so mean and so broken about the ability to keep our government open.”


Farm Bill; Budget; Ag Economy; and, the CFTC

Farm Bill

Gina Chon reported yesterday at The Financial Times Online that, “The poisonous politics of the US government shutdown is infecting other bills that Congress is looking to tackle this year, dampening hopes for compromise and delaying work on other legislation.”

The FT article noted that, “One of the most critical issues Congress must pass before the year-end is the farm bill, which sets food and nutrition policy. The current legislation expired on September 30, although many farm programmes will be able to continue to the end of December.

“Legislators must pass a bill this year or risk cuts to Department of Agriculture initiatives and other programmes that help farmers and the poor. The sticking point has been differences over the food stamp programme, which provides assistance to low-income individuals and families.

“The Republican-dominated House is pushing to cut about $40bn from that food aid programme, a move that the Democratic-led Senate opposes. This week, the Senate asked for a conference with the House to resolve differences on the bill, but has not yet had a response.”


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