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Top three Ag panel leaders offer their views on major issues at DC event
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Lawmakers are now making plans for what comes next in the wake of the failed Super Committee effort to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the US debt that potentially would have included a new farm bill plan. Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) addressed the Farm Journal Forum, co-hosted by Informa Economics, in Washington, DC, Tuesday and offered their views on what is next for the panels.
Farm bill process: The Ag panel chair said she worked with the other top leaders of the House and Senate panels in developing the plan, saying she thought it was important for the panel to make the decisions on what reductions were made, not those outside the Ag Committees.
Stabenow insisted that Lucas, Roberts and Peterson all were involved in the process "as much as they wanted."
Next steps for farm bill process: Stabenow said the Super Committee-Farm bill linkage process fostered a close working relationship with her counterpart in the House, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and their staffs. She said the way forward is to hold more hearings and the farm bill process to date will serve as "the foundation" for moving forward to eventual legislative markup. "We flushed out other areas where the tough questions are," Stabenow said of the work done to date on the new farm bill.
On individual farm bill issues, Stabenow noted there is no longer support for continuing the around $5 billion in direct payments, but there is widespread support for crop insurance. She acknowledged different regions of the country bring "difficult challenges" in formulating farm policy. She and others at the confab noted support for streamlining conservation programs, adding the process to date has narrowed the number of conservation programs from 23 to 13.