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Last week the House Agriculture Committee approved its recommendations for the 2007 Farm Bill. Here is a snapshot look at how industry players see the bill impacting them.
American Farm Bureau Federation: "The committee bill makes several significant reforms in farm programs that address increasingly broad sector needs. By better balancing support programs between all types of crops, the bill further encourages farmers to plant for the market, not for the benefit of government programs," said AFBF president Bob Stallman.
National Corn Growers Association: The House Agriculture Committee's bill gives farmers the option of signing up for a program similar to one now available in the 2002 farm bill or a program that allows growers to enter a revenue-triggered countercyclical program based on national price. NCGA advocates a farm bill with a county-based revenue countercyclical program that triggers payments based on a farm's revenue rather than a crop's price.
While Chairman Collin Peterson's version of a revenue-based program prevailed, Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) offered an amendment that would offer a state-based program. The committee discussed the proposal favorably, and Peterson gave a commitment the committee should study the proposal in the future. Moran decided to withdraw the amendment.
"Although Representative Moran withdrew the amendment, it was clear there was support for a more localized revenue-based program," said NCGA Ken McCauley. He cautioned that the entire proposal has a dozen sections and NCGA is studying each of them in detail. "For example, we are evaluating payment limits on conservation programs that will affect the livestock industry," he noted.
American Soybean Association: "Although ASA's Farm Bill proposal call for a soybean target price of $6.85, $6.10 is a step in the right direction toward rebalancing the support provided to oilseeds in relation to other program commodities," said ASA President John Hoffman, a soybean farmer from
National Association of Wheat Growers: Wheat's direct payment was kept at 52 cents a bushel, but the bill raised the wheat target price to $4.15 from $3.92 and raised the loan rate to $2.94. "Over the term of the 2002 Farm Bill, wheat growers have only been able to access one of the three safety net tools, the direct payment. While we are disappointed that an increase in the direct payment was not possible, wheat growers certainly understand tight budgets and economic compromises," said NAWG President John Thaemert.
American Farmland Trust: "The House Agriculture Committee has kicked off the 2007 Farm Bill negotiations with some important steps in the right direction," said Ralph Grossi, AFT president. "Offering producers the choice of a revenue-based counter-cyclical, or the standard price-based commodity payment is one way that the Committee has begun to include better safety net policies." Grossi said AFT is committed to working with the House leadership and many members who have expressed an interest in strengthening this revenue proposal as they work toward final passage of the 2007 Farm Bill.
"Now the challenge is to push even further toward a better agriculture, food and environmental future as the full House votes on the bill and the Senate begins their deliberations this fall. Agriculture and consumers must not lose this once in a generation chance to help the House and Senate legislate forward thinking and effective policies for all farmers, ranchers and communities.
Environmental Law & Policy Center: Farm Bill clean energy supporters responded with cautious optimism to the House Agriculture Committee's draft farm bill.According to ELPC Senior Attorney John Moore, "The Agriculture Committee's Farm Bill Energy Title has the right programs in place, but it contains no mandatory energy investments, and virtually all of the proposed funding in the en bloc amendment is contingent on as-yet-unidentified other funding sources." Even the amount allocated for energy in the en bloc amendment falls short of the benchmark of at least $1 billion per year set by numerous stakeholders in recent weeks.