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May 2013 Archive for PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

Heated House Battle Expected

May 31, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

May 31, 2013

High hurdles to clear for House farm bill

 

As the Senate prepares to take up its version of the farm bill in the week ahead, it's becoming clear the House debate over new farm policy will be heated and potentially drawn-out. Contacts tell us 30 to 40 House Democrats will be willing to support the House plan if it includes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food-stamp program) of up to $20.5 billion over 10 years.

That's not much support from the Democrats, which means the House plan would require overwhelming support from the Republican side of the aisle. Which is easier said than done.

Those "furthest to the right" on the Republican side argue the $20.5 billion cut to SNAP isn't enough and many of these recently elected lawmakers (many in the Tea Party uprising) don't want to support any farm program supports at all. They especially dislike the food stamp program and crop insurance subsidies.

Republican leaders will attempt to coax "yes" votes from this group of conservatives by promoting the bill as a down payment on further farm policy reforms in the future. They may even promise future legislation to tie SNAP benefits to a jobs bill.

Either way, the House battle is setting up to be a three-way fight between liberals, conservatives and the really conservatives.

Senate debate is set to resume Monday with a likely vote on the full package by mid-week. The Senate bill, with its $4.5 billion in SNAP cuts, is expected to pass the floor vote.


Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Next steps for Senate farm bill

May 24, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

May 24, 2013

Next steps for Senate farm bill

 

Here's when a deal really isn't a deal. When the Senate Ag Committee was marking up its version of the farm bill, a deal was struck between opposing lawmakers to link conservation compliance to crop insurance eligibility in exchange for no means testing to determine the level of crop insurance subsidy available to farmers. In the end, the same lawmakers that made the deal brought an amendment to the floor of the Senate to reduce the crop insurance premium subsidy by 24% for farmers with an adjusted gross income of $750,000 and greater. There's no guarantee this amendment will be part of the compromise bill with the House, but it will be part of the Senate package.

The next steps for the Senate farm bill will be more debate when lawmakers return June 3 from the Memorial Day recess. There will be more amendments offered dealing with crop insurance. That drives home the fact that non-farm-state lawmakers see the crop insurance system as prime target for budget savings.

Well... not actually savings. Many of the amendments will likely attempt to move money tagged for the crop insurance program to another farm bill section - SNAP. They'll try to cut money to fund the crop insurance program and move it over to food stamps. These lawmakers will undoubtedly call it "savings," only to turn around and spend it on SNAP.

The Senate will probably wrap up the debate by June 6 and push for a vote on the legislation that day.


Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Ag Panels clear farm bill proposals

May 17, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

May 17, 2013

Farm bills move out of committee

Pro Farmer Associate Editor Meghan Pedersen and Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer did a great job of summarizing the House and Senate versions of the 2013 farm bill in this week's Pro Farmer newsletter. Following is there comparison of the Commodity Titles in the two bills.

Senate Ag Panel safety net:

  • Eliminates direct payments, ACRE and SURE.

 

  • You can enroll same acres in both Adverse Market Payments (AMP) and Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) programs, with optional Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).

 

 

  • ARC, a “shallow loss” revenue protection plan, makes payouts based on full market-year price triggered by revenue loss of at least 12%. Payouts based on planted acres, up to average acres planted 2009-12, with a one-time choice between farm- and county-level coverage.

 

 

  • AMP target-price-based program, with protection limited to 85% of base acres. Target (reference) price levels are below the House.

 

 

  • New Stacked Income Protection (STAX) plan implemented beginning with 2014 cotton crop. No reference price.

 

House Ag Panel safety net:

  • Eliminates direct payments, ACRE and SURE.

 

 

  • Offers choice between Revenue Loss Coverage (RLC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC), with optional SCO.

 

 

  • County-level RLC payments based on planted acres, limited to base acres, using midseason price for determining payments paid in October.

 

 

  • PLC target price protection based on 85% of planted acres up to base acres. Higher target price levels than the Senate.

 

 

  • Offers “transition payments” to cotton producers to boost safety net for 2014 and 2015 crops, even if STAX is available those years. These are calculated at 6.667¢ per pound on 70% of base acres for 2014 and 60% for 2015 crop. No reference price.

 

Comparison and implications:

The Senate will eventually have to boost its savings level and some key ARC provisions may change later in the farm bill process. The Senate bill favors Midwest and northern Corn Belt growers as ARC spending accounts for almost 90% of Title I spending. The House farm bill is more balanced regarding its choice between RLC and PLC.


Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

House and Senate get ready to markup farm bills

May 03, 2013

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

May 3, 2013

House farm bill gets ready for a mid-May markup

 

Lawmakers will be targeting a 10-year savings of $38 billion when the House Ag Committee begins its work on May 15, according to Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). He says House GOP leadership has not yet committed to a time for floor action, but they have indicated another extension is not an option.

 

Lucas also says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which accounts for about 80% of farm bill spending, would be cut by $20 billion in the new bill, with the rest of the savings coming primarily out of the commodity and conservation titles. Updated scoring of last year’s House version put SNAP savings at $11.7 billion, $4.3 billion below the 2012 scoring.

 

Lucas also says the new bill would make larger cuts in conservation spending and he hinted the Conservation Reserve Program may be reduced by more than the 25-million-acre cap proposed last year.
The commodity title will be left largely intact and target prices in the Price Loss Coverage program will be “very close” to the levels in last year’s bill, according to Lucas.

 

But the committee action will just be a preview. The real action in the new farm bill debate will come during floor action, especially in the House, where amendments are expected to deal with crop insurance, dairy policy and the U.S. sugar program. And that’s not considering efforts to rectify the wide budget savings differences expected between the two versions — $23 billion in the Senate versus $38 billion in the House.

 

Sen. Cochran’s presence felt on ag panel

 

Unlike last year, this year’s Senate version will include a producer option for target/reference prices. However, target price levels in many cases are expected to be below the House-proposed levels of 2012. Some sources signal rice and peanuts could be the “favored commodities” relative to target price levels in the Senate. That would signal the significance of new ranking member Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

 

Egg-laying roadblock?

 

Senate farm bill markup may begin as soon as this week (mid-month is most likely) and Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) might add another hurdle to getting a farm bill completed. If she puts the so-called Egg Bill in the coming farm bill draft, she’ll get plenty of resistance instead of support from farm groups. This measure, which some have dubbed “Hilton for Hens,” would require national standards of housing hens.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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