Legislators putting together the 2007 Farm Bill are working with a tight budget, so to add a new program means to take from another. One area that money could come from is the $5 billion in annual guaranteed direct commodity payments.
Anti-subsidy advocates speaking in
Scott Faber of Environmental Defense calls direct payments a "vestigial organ" of ag policy, and he,
USDA Secretary Mike Johanns disagrees. The administration's 2007 Farm Bill proposals included an additional $550 million for direct payments, instead trimming other crop supports.
Johanns says direct payments would be much less likely to interfere with World Trade Organization negotiations than price supports linked to a specific crop.