Even after an agreement on a debt reduction package there is uncertainty about exactly how much funding for the next Farm Bill will be cut. However National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett expects that number could come soon.
Ag subsidies have been at the top of the "to cut" list all year long, from the $30 billion over 10 year level in the House-passed GOP budget to a recent call by a D.C. think tank to cut $100 billion in farm programs. Now comes the bipartisan $2.4 trillion 10-year debt deal with a bipartisan commission to come up with at least half of that, or trigger automatic cuts if it fails to do so.
"We don't have a number for ag, we don't know if that number is going to be established by the commission or if there is going to be some kind of side deal," Doggett said. "Our projected deficit over the next 10 years is $10 trillion. This deal only reduces that amount by $2.4 trillion leaving us with $7.5 trillion worth of additional debt over the next 10 years. Just doing the basic math I think this is just round one of round one."
Doggett calls it just kicking the can a little further down the road. So what does that mean for timing to actually write the next farm bill?
"I think they'll have a number, I hope they'll have a number and I hope that number will be arrived at by the commission and that we have some certainty by the due date for Congress to act on the findings of that commission," Doggett said. "That would be Dec. 23 of this year so it could set up the scenario of writing a Farm Bill right after the first of the year."And even with all the talk in the Ag Committees of reforming, cutting or eliminating key farm programs Doggett says the jury's still out and the last two weeks has taught him that prognosticating what Congress is going to do is not prudent or wise.