U.S. House Ag Chair Addresses Farmers

March 3, 2017 11:42 AM
U.S. House Ag Chair Addresses Farmers

Getting cotton back into the farm bill as a covered commodity, shoring up provisions for the dairy industry and tweaking the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program are the three biggest priorities going into negotiations over the 2018 farm bill, a key congressional leader told farmers at Commodity Classic Friday.

U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, a Republican from Texas, also emphasized his commitment to getting the new farm bill finished on schedule, unlike last time.

But at a time when the new Trump Administration is facing multi-trillion-dollar debt while promising huge investments in infrastructure and military programs, will agriculture be expected offer up budget offsets as they hammer out a deal?

Conaway was noncommittal. 

Mike Conaway

“We’ll see. (We’re) $20 trillion in debt, the president has proposed a lot of new spending. There’s a lot of balls in the air at any one point and time. No one has a real good feel yet (about how the process will play out),” he said. “We’re just going to keep telling our story to as many people who will listen, and to the right people.”

Regarding the Trump administration’s tough talk on trade, pulling out of the TPP and threatening to renegotiate NAFTA, two multi-lateral pacts largely popular with production agriculture, Conaway emphasized the clock is ticking on any new agreements.

“I was in a conversation with one of President Trump’s top economic advisors three or four weeks ago,” he said. “I said we need to talk trade, because it’s vital to production agriculture. (Conaway told the advisor), ‘So, we walked away from TPP, and most production agriculture thought that was good, except rice and tobacco. We now know what a good deal looks like.”

Conaway then told the Trump advisor he’s “anxious” to see how any future bilateral deals beat the TPP and NAFTA in the benefits they bring to ag exports.

“Time is of the essence. China is not standing on the sidelines while we get our act together. They’re going to move forward with whatever deals they get done. And to the extent they’ll cut us out, they’ll certainly do that,” he said.\

Listen to Conaway's Speech here

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Spell Check

bad axe, MI
3/4/2017 06:10 AM

  This Conaway guy he knows what's going to happen with AG under Trump with his 20% border tax. Carter's grain imbargo repeat, no prices for 25 years .

Western, NE
3/4/2017 06:44 PM

  Republicans love tariffs. I'm surprised they're not trying to increase inheritance taxes, after all, they're the ones that originally imposed it upon Americans. Tariffs, protectionism, inheritance tax and debt. All Republican trademarks! Too bad most Americans don't remember their history!! I hope that ag doesn't suffer. We've been asked to shoulder cuts ever since the 1985 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill we shouldered even more and with the Republican Sequestration, we've had to endure another almost 7% reduction on top of all of the other cuts! When does it stop?


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