February 28, 2020

Farm Bill; Ag Economy; RINs; and, FDA Regs.

Farm Bill Issues

DTN Editor Emeritus Urban C. Lehner indicated at his blog on Wednesday that, “Charlie Stenholm’s passions during his 26 years as a Democratic Congressman from Texas were supporting agriculture and balancing the federal budget. That makes him a good man to listen to on the interaction between the two House-Senate conference committees meeting today, the one trying to reconcile different versions of the farm bill and the other trying to hash out a budget deal.

“Unfortunately for agriculture, what he has to say isn’t encouraging.”

Mr. Lehner noted that, “Serving as the moderator of a Farm Foundation panel discussion on the farm bill, Stenholm hammered home an inconvenient fact: It will be difficult for the farm-bill conferees to make meaningful progress until the budget conferees ‘give them a number.’ How much must agriculture contribute to cutting the budget?

“Without that number, any compromises the farm-bill conferees make on big-ticket items like food stamps will be wasted if the budget conferees end up demanding bigger cuts.

“At the very least this inconvenient fact pours cold water on talk of a farm-bill deal by Thanksgiving. The budget conferees’ deadline is December 13. Chances of getting an ag number before then are slim. As panelist Joe Outlaw of Texas A & M put it, ‘In political gamesmanship you don’t throw out a number’ sooner when you might be able to get a better number later.”