Tuesday, the U.S. House began consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill (HR 2112), which covers a wide range of programs. Already, groups in support of food programs for those in need worry over cuts to this program. The American Soybean Association also sees problems with the measure, and is calling on members to get in touch with their representative.
According to a statement issued late Tuesday, ASA says there are two "very harmful" amendments. The first, proposed by Paul Broun, R-Ga., would eliminate funding of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The organization, which is heavily involved in global trade issues plays an important role in an increasingly competitive market.
The second amendment, proposed by Rich Nugent, R-Fla., would cut FAS funding by an additional 10% - in addition to the $11 cut included in HR 2112). The Broun amendment is being called "the most draconian" but the Nugent amendment would "seriously cripple the agency" ASA says.
According to a press statement released by ASA: " There are a number of other amendments that will be offered that would open up the farm bill and/or crop insurance and reduce funding for the baseline. These debates would be best left up to the Agriculture Committee’s jurisdiction and deliberation, not on an annual appropriations bill. The Farm Bill or other legislation like crop insurance that is “authorized” by the Agriculture Committee should not be changed by an annual appropriations bill. It’s against the rules and would essentially re-write the 2008 Farm Bill."
The organization is encouraging farmers to contact their representatives and urge them to oppose any amendment that would be considered "authorizing" on an appropriations bill. You can contact your representative by visiting Congress.
The move by the House to impact appropriations on ag spending ahead of the Farm Bill debate is a hot topic and one that sets a tough precedent for policymakers.