What is in this article?:
- Commodity groups praise House, Senate bills.
- Environmental groups express displeasure.
- Bill passes with bipartisan support.
Grassroots reaction to the House Agriculture Committee-passed 2013 farm bill is mostly positive, but some environmental groups express displeasure at what they perceive is too little attention to conservation efforts and too much consideration for large-scale farm operations.
“We are pleased both the Senate and House Ag Committees passed their versions of the farm bill out of committee this week,” said David Gibson, executive vice president, Corn Producers Association of Texas. “As a whole, the Senate committee’s bill is improved from 2012, now offering some level of protection for price losses. CPAT is encouraged that both committees included reference price programs in their legislation.
“It’s good for our farmers that both committees left crop insurance intact,” Gibson said. “However, we are disappointed in the Senate committee’s inclusion of conservation compliance with crop insurance, as it’s a duplication of requirements already outlined for the farm programs and has the potential to lead to further regulation.”
The House version has an advantage over the Senate bill, Gibson notes. “Overall, the House committee’s bill offers a better price loss coverage for our producers, as was shown through the Texas A&M University’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center’s analysis. We are hopeful the reference prices included in this bill are at least maintained. Our farmers would benefit as a whole if the final legislation closely resembles what was passed from the House committee.”
The National Cotton Council also applauded the efforts of both committees and vows to encourage Cotton Belt Representatives to support their agriculture committee’s work and oppose damaging amendments when the legislation is considered by the full House, which likely will occur in June.
The House Agriculture Committee’s bill, which was approved by a strong, bipartisan vote of 36-10, saves nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds.
NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson, a Robstown, Texas, producer, said, “We commend the House Agriculture Committee leaders and Committee members for moving this important legislation to the next step. We urge the House leaders to promptly schedule time for the House to consider and pass this legislation. Our nation needs sound, long-term farm policy that has a balanced safety net for all commodities and regions while facilitating market-driven cropping and marketing decisions.”
The NCC also is pleased that the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and transition payments to assist growers and their lenders until STAX can be fully implementedwere retained in the bill. NCC says STAX provides more certainty to growers and provides the basis for resolution of the longstanding Brazil WTO case.
Dodson also noted the importance of provisions to assist U.S. textile manufacturers, extending the marketing loan and adjusted world price redemption process, maintaining reasonable limitations and eligibility requirements, extending the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program, which provide seed money for important promotion programs, and extending the extra-long staple cotton program.