01-03-2013 02:59 PM
Article on the Farm Bill. Guess I will not kid around here and you can call me a Free-loader, Welfare collecting farmer as many of the Iowa city people call us Iowa farmland owners who recieve the $20/acre Direct Payment and the $42/acre in Crop Insurance Subsidies every year. But I do like the $65,000+ per year Crop Insurance that the taxpayer gives me. And remember, 95% of all Iowa farmers have subsidized crop insurance and the bill just for Iowa with 26 Milion acres of row-crops is over $1 BILLION Dollars for the Taxpayers. And there are 80,000 Iowa farmers so the average per farmer is around $15,000. Of course there are BTO's that get over $250,000/year and small farmers that only get $3,000.
Legislation's extension leaves farmers with an 'era of uncertainty'
WASHINGTON — Last-minute action by Congress to extend the expiring farm bill provides farmers with a lifeline for this year, but it does little to suppress growing uncertainty among those bracing for significant cuts to support programs.
The bare-bones extension passed late Tuesday by Congress as part of the package to avoid fallout from the so-called fiscal cliff keeps many of the existing farm programs in place, including direct payments and crop insurance. It also prevents dairy subsidies from reverting to 1949 levels — a move that could have caused milk prices to double to about $7 a gallon.
But farmers and ranchers complained the package was riddled with flaws, such as cutting funding for conservation and energy, and failing to provide money for much-needed disaster relief programs that have already expired.
“This extension does kind of kick the can down the road a bit,” said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. “There is some good in this, but we would have much rather had a five-year farm bill. It still leaves an era of uncertainty.”
A growing concern among rural America is that, as Congress looks to cut spending, agricultural programs could be susceptible to even steeper cuts than those included in the farm bill proposals that failed to pass last year.
Steve Anderson, a corn and soybean producer in Marshall County, said the extension provides him with a better idea of what to plan for when he plants crops and purchases crop insurance. “Something is better than nothing at this point,” he said.
Still, like other farmers, he is bracing for deeper cuts to farm programs and uncertainty as to what agriculture programs will look like. “I’m probably going to be a little more conservative going forward,” Anderson said.
House GOP leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, were reluctant to vote on a larger five-year farm bill because of concerns they did not have the necessary support. The Senate’s bill, passed in June, cut spending by almost $24 billion. The House Committee on Agriculture passed its own measure a month later with cuts of more than $35 billion, but the full House never voted on either bill.
There has been widespread disagreement about how much to cut spending on nutrition programs. It is unclear whether it will be any easier to pass a farm law in the new Congress that begins Thursday.
“That roadblock may still be there,” said Mike Duffy, a professor of economics at Iowa State University. “I haven’t seen anything really outside the box yet, and I’d be surprised if there is something ... unique enough that everybody can get behind it.”
Sen. Tom Harkin said the extension was a lost opportunity to pass a long-term bill. “My concern, especially in present budget circumstances, is that forcing through the just-passed measure may well have thrown away our best chance for a sound long-term farm bill,” Harkin said.
Amanda Taylor, senior policy adviser for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said the extension “misses many of the important reforms that the agriculture committees worked on,” especially reforming direct payments and “developing a new, more market-oriented revenue program which only kicks in when farmers need it.”
Top lawmakers with the House and Senate Agriculture committees have not given timelines for when they will act on new farm legislation. Lawmakers still need to complete a five-year, $500 billion bill to replace the 2008 farm law. Many expect the key components of last year’s farm bill proposals — an end to direct payments, new crop insurance programs and cuts in nutrition initiatives — to be included in the new legislation.
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said the work lawmakers did on a new farm bill last year will provide a solid foundation to move forward. “I remain optimistic that we can get a five-year farm bill done in the coming months
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