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01-29-2014 01:29 PM
"I am pleased a majority of my House colleagues joined me in supporting a five-year, comprehensive farm bill. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped get us here," said House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas. "This is legislation we can all be proud of because it fulfills the expectations the American people have of us."
"We are on the verge of achieving major reform," said Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. "Today’s House vote puts us one step closer to finally enacting a five-year farm bill that helps farmers and businesses create jobs across the country and saves taxpayers billions."
The farm bill, called the Agricultural Act of 2014, includes major spending reforms, including:
- The elimination of direct payments
- Improved crop insurance tools
- Reduced payment limits, tightened eligibility requirements and streamlined means tests
- A permanent livestock disaster assistance program
- Dairy policy reform with a new, voluntary livestock margin protection program, but no government-mandated supply controls
- Support for beginning farmers
01-29-2014 06:12 PM
2005 Actual expenses of $51.036 billion placed Food and Nutrition and Consumer at just under 41% of the $124.877 billion ag spending with the FSA spending at $34.430 billion (actual spending - $10.5 billion under budgeted amount) for a 27.6% share.
Last year I had looked up actual expenditures.
01-29-2014 08:48 PM - edited 01-29-2014 08:49 PM
House passes farm bill preserving crop subsidies, slightly curbing food stamps
The House on Wednesday approved a nearly $100 billion-a-year farm bill that would make small reductions in the growth of food stamp spending while continuing generous subsidies for the nation's farmers.
The vote was 251-166. The five-year bill now goes to the Senate for final approval.
Leaders scheduled a quick vote after the nearly 1,000-page bill was introduced Monday, giving opponents little time to build opposition.
Agriculture Committee chairman, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have spent the past two years crafting a bill to appeal to members from all regions of the country, including a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher rice and peanut subsidies for Southern farmers; and renewal of federal land payments for Western states.
Some House conservatives were not happy with the new bill. They originally wanted to dial back food stamp spending by $4 billion a year; the new bill cuts $800 million a year -- which represents about 1 percent of the $80 billion-a-year program.
The final food stamp savings are generated by ending a practice in some states of boosting individual food stamp benefits by giving people a minimal amount of federal heating assistance they don't need. The cuts were brought down to $800 million a year to come closer to the Senate version of the bill, which had $400 million in annual food stamp cuts. The House bill passed in September would have cut $4 billion a year.
The legislation would also eliminate a $4.5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called direct payments, which are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. The bill would continue to heavily subsidize major crops -- corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton -- while shifting many of those subsidies toward more politically defensible insurance programs. That means farmers would have to incur losses before they received a payout.
The bill would save around $1.65 billion annually overall, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The amount was less than the $2.3 billion annual savings the agriculture committees originally projected for the bill.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
01-29-2014 09:59 PM
You can tell a snake by their ability to use the popular catch phrases ------quote- Committee Chairman Frank Lucas
If I have learned anything ----- no one knows what this farm bill says until the bureaucrats right the regulations. It could become a road and bridge bill if the they want it too.
01-29-2014 11:03 PM - edited 01-29-2014 11:04 PM
some specifics I have seen------ below.. Why are payment limitations improtant if there are not going to be any payments......???? What am I missing in the Food Stamp Bill ????? Are crop insurance reciepts now considered farm payments??????????????
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Agriculture and food programs would be reauthorized for five years under the conference report on H.R. 2642, also known as the farm bill. The legislation covers commodity support, conservation, international food aid, nutrition assistance, farm credit, rural development, forestry, energy, horticulture, crop insurance and more.
Current law began to expire Sept. 30. Some programs are on a crop-year schedule, which varies based on growing seasons, and haven’t yet expired. The measure’s reauthorizations would generally run through fiscal 2018 or the related crop year.
The measure, called the Agricultural Act of 2014, would cost $956.4 billion over 10 years, saving about $16.6 billion in that timeframe compared to the Congressional Budget Office May
2013 baseline of projected spending under current law, according to the agency’s Jan. 28 cost estimate.
About $8 billion of the savings would come from the nutrition section of the measure, which would make changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Those savings are about double the $3.9 billion in the Senate version and about one-fifth of the $39 billion proposed by the House.
The measure also would eliminate direct payments, which would be replaced by an expansion of government-backed crop insurance and support programs that would pay farmers if crop prices collapse.
A conference report (H. Rept. 113-333) reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill was filed Jan. 27. Highlights of that compromise farm bill are provided below.
Direct payments to U.S. farmers would end after the 2013 crop year under the agreement. The payments, which cost about $4.5 billion per year, have drawn criticism because farmers are paid a set rate based on the amount of land involved regardless of how much a farmer grows or profits in a given year. Both the House and Senate farm bills also would have repealed the direct payments, which would save about $40.8 billion over 10 years.
The agreement also would repeal counter-cyclical payments and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program, two other farm support programs that make payments to farmers when prices or revenue fall below a certain level. Farmers could choose to participate in one of two new, but similar, programs created by the measure.
One new program, called Agriculture Risk Coverage, would make payments to farmers on a portion of their shallow losses, the amount that isn’t covered by crop insurance. The Agriculture Department would pay farmers if revenue fell below 86 percent of a benchmark revenue rate. Farmers would choose once whether their benchmarks would be based on county-wide yield changes or individual changes.
The second program, called Price Loss Coverage, would make payments to farmers when crop prices fall below defined thresholds, or reference prices, spelled out in the legislation.
The reference prices are higher than current law. Thus, projected drops in prices for crops such as corn could mean those producers receive higher subsidy payments than under the current direct payments approach, according to the Environmental Working Group and American Enterprise Institute.
Payments under both programs would generally cover 85 percent of the amount of land a farmer planted historically, known as base acres, as opposed to how much the farmer plants in a given year. This provision is backed by the American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association who both wrote in a Nov. 26 letter that tying subsidies to current-year plantings would distort production, as it would give farmers incentive to grow more in years in which prices are lower than the support-triggering thresholds. The production surpluses and lower prices could also subject growers to trade complaints, the groups wrote. The groups released statements supporting the conference report.
The current-year planted acres provision was intended to more realistically align payments with producer risk based on actual yields and market prices, according to the Senate Agriculture Committee report on the bill it approved, S. 954, which contained a similar provision.
The agreement also would continue marketing assistance loans that provide protection against low prices.
The farm support programs would cover crop years 2014 through 2018, intended to force lawmakers to periodically review farm policy. The House version of the farm bill would have made similar programs permanent. More than 250 organizations including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union and National Grange wrote in an October letter that they supported an expiration date for the programs.
Eligibility for the current commodity support programs is tied to certain conservation requirements and the new programs would have to apply to those as well.
Payments for the commodity support programs would be capped at $125,000 per person and $250,000 per couple. The agreement would also let USDA decide who qualifies as being “actively engaged” in farm operations to qualify for additional subsidies.
Commodity programs are currently capped at $105,000 per person for individuals with adjusted gross income of less than
$500,000 for nonfarm income and $750,000 for farm income.
The agreement would tighten limits on the AGI threshold by establishing a single, $900,000 limitation that would include both types of income.
The higher caps on subsidy payments would benefit larger farm operations, such as rice and cotton growers in the South, Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga and Julie Bykowicz reported.
The USA Rice Federation said the caps proposed in the House and Senate versions, which were lower than current law, were “unrealistic” in an Oct. 28 letter to conferees.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition opposes higher payment limits and the language on “actively engaged”
farmers. It has said current caps and eligibility rules favor “mega-farms over family farms, driving the consolidation of farmland, and inflating land prices.”
The commodity support programs would supplement traditional crop insurance, which is permanently authorized and would be expanded under the compromise. USDA subsidizes crop insurance policies for farmers and insurance companies that provide coverage, such as Ace Ltd.
Beginning in crop year 2015, farmers would be able to purchase additional insurance under a new Supplemental Coverage Option that would cover part of a farmer’s deductible from his or her underlying crop insurance policy. Coverage would be triggered only if losses exceeded 14 percent of normal levels.
The government would subsidize 65 percent of premiums.
The Supplemental Coverage Option would be available to all crops, not just those under the commodity programs. If a farmer participates in Agriculture Risk Coverage, he or she wouldn’t be eligible for the additional insurance coverage on the same crop.
Additionally, eligibility for insurance premium subsidies would be tied to compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements. The World Wildlife Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council support the provision, according to recent statements.
01-29-2014 11:11 PM - edited 01-29-2014 11:13 PM
Isnt this the same voodoo formula stuff no one could figure out in years past ------- SURE and some other screwball formula based deal with no real purpose.
Wonder if we will need to go to the health care website to sign up??
Hobby, did food stamps just get a 900+ billion guarantee and a ten year life????
01-30-2014 02:06 AM
There appears to be things in this 5 year plan that only a greenie socialist would love.
They seem to have put the give a ways in the crop insurance end of the "deal". On first look I should have been buying swamp instead of desert. The money seems at first look is going to be in implementing wetland restorations.
I'm guessing a lot of the crap ground that got broke out the last 10 years will be the money maker in the new bill.
The "stick" is in tying crop insurance to having a conservation plan and sticking to it. Also seems to be a version of the old SURE included in there for the gap between small losses and a normal crop.
Just got to get control by making it appear irresistible.
The five year farm program sounds so "old USSR" to me. Just remember this thing comes from the same cesspool that is giving us our new improved health care mandates. They have terms in there like "easements". Scary stuff for a libertarian, scary stuff indeed...