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Farm Bill Meetings Have Consensus: Budget-Cutters Prevail

August 26, 2011
By: Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer Washington Consultant

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Sens. Stabenow, Roberts, Lugar size up farm bill debate

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Farm-state lawmakers can hold as many forums, hearings, or whatever they want to call their sessions, but they are finally coming to the conclusion that should have been evident months ago: how much money in the farm bill budget baseline will largely determine what lawmakers think should be the major components of the next omnibus farm bill.

Roberts focuses on need for safety net. During the Wichita, Kansas-based farm bill gathering by the Senate Ag Committee, Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) said, "Without an adequate safety net many producers will struggle to secure operating loans and lines of credit to cover input and equipment costs. We need those producers to stay in business if we're going to meet this global challenge and do so in a way that protects our most valuable resource – our future generations."

Roberts continued, "Some folks question the need for a farm bill with commodity prices where they are today. I don't have to tell this crowd that prices can fall much more quickly than they rise.

Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said her primary focus would be crafting agriculture programs that meet the needs of farmers and "help our our country on better financial footing for years to come." That, again, signals the budget aspect role in the coming debate.

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