For the past several months as Congress and the Administration has been dealing with the budget, the debt ceiling and deficit reduction. During that time, agricultural spending has always been at the top of the deficit reduction discussion. According to National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall, that is because people don't understand exactly where ag spending goes.
"People just talk about the Farm Bill in general, they don't realize, that especially in this past Farm Bill, more than 70% of it was for food and nutrition programs, it wasn't payments to farmers," Woodall said. "I think we're going to have to help Chairman Lucas and also the Senate Ag Committee to really work with these members of Congress to have them understand that this is not just a pot of money they can go raid because people don't understand the mechanics; this is important to make sure we have a vibrant, robust agriculture industry."
Woodall says NCBA has a big interest in two aspects of the Farm Bill.
"The Conservation Title because programs like EQIP have been very successful in the cattle industry," Woodall said. "The thing that is good about EQIP is that it's a cost-share program. The government puts up some money and the producer puts up some money. Also the Research Title because research we actually think is probably a good use of the taxpayers' dollars to help us find better production practices and also help us with our efforts to combat diseases, foreign animal diseases and make sure we have a healthy herd."
But Woodall says their number one priority is to eliminate the Livestock Title. The last Farm Bill is the first one to have a dedicated Livestock Title, which Woodall says lead to the GIPSA Rule and mandatory country of origin labeling, so they want to completely take it off of the table.