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Senior Contributor

Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies

An article that is about the new Farm Bill, something that is very dear to our hearts. LOL

Unless I missed it, I didn't see any mention of Crop Insurance. That is a very important issue since it involves a great deal of money. The Crop insurance Subsidy amounts to around a $48/acre pass though payment for Iowa farmers and I am sure it is also around the $48/acre for the other corn belt states. Just for my small Iowa Farm Operation, the Crop Insurance Subsidy pays around $81,600 per year of my Insurance. Not exactly chicken feed. This is at the 80% level, not the 85% level that some farmers take. If the Crop Insurance Subsidy was taken away, I would probably try and go the self-insurance route by setting up a Crop Insurance Accural Account for that purpose. I sleep better having crop insurance, although I have never had a complete 100% wipe-out, but many, many, times of hail damage. Hail and wind are probably the 2 main things that damage our crops in Iowa. For wind, I also take out "Green Snap" Insurance which I too have had many claims. We seem to get alot of those 60-90 mph winds that can do a number on our crops. If they do decide to get rid of Subsidized Crop Insurance, it would be nice to have them tell us this, I need a few years to set-up my Crop Insurance Accural Account so I can go the Self-Insured route. This going the self-insured route has always been one goal of mine. Anyway the article is below:



Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies


WASHINGTON — The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a sweeping new five-year, half-trillion dollar farm bill Tuesday as lawmakers made another attempt to craft a new agriculture policy after falling short in 2012.

The legislation, which included many of the same programs and reforms that were in the farm bills that failed in Congress last year, would slash subsidy payments, expand crop insurance and carry out deep cuts to the country’s food stamp program, which is in high demand.

The Senate bill would collectively reduce spending by a net of about $24 billion over 10 years, compared with about $38 billion during the same period in a House measure. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to work on its own farm bill starting today.

“This is kind of deja vu all over again,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., one of four Republicans who voted against the bill. “This is a starting point, and in the current climate of budgetary and fiscal constraints, it’s important that we subject all areas of federal spending to close examination, and the farm bill is no exception to that.”

The committee voted 15-5 to pass the farm bill, kicking off a long and potentially arduous process to enact a new law. The bill now goes to the full Senate where a vote could take place as soon as this month. Congress failed to pass a bill last year and instead extended the 2008 farm law until Sept. 30.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, managed to get a farm bill through the full Senate last year with little opposition, and she is expected to be able to do the same again this year. The main hurdle occurred in the House, where GOP leaders were reluctant to bring either their bill or the Senate measure up for a vote ahead of the November election. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., has vowed to take up the House farm bill this summer.

Stabenow said she expected “a strong vote” for the bill in the full Senate after it received widespread support in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday.

The farm bill passed on Tuesday eliminates $17 billion in farm subsidies, $5 billion a year in direct payments given to farmers regardless of need, and reduces $4 billion from conservation programs largely through consolidation. Savings would be invested in new revenue insurance programs that protect farmers against low prices or poor yields. Spending for food stamp programs, used by 48 million Americans, also would be cut by $4 billion. The House is looking to enact even steeper food stamp cuts of around $20 billion.

As it was last year, the proposed drop in food stamp spending is expected again to be a source of contentious debate in 2013, particularly among Democrats, who say the proposed cuts are too steep. “I hope that as we try to work ourselves out of a budget problem we don’t just kind of succumb to the fact that people like that, well, don’t have much of a voice or much of a vote and therefore we can take it all out of nutrition,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia.

The Senate bill also would deny farm subsidies to individuals earning more than $750,000. Subsidy payments would be capped at $50,000 per person, and would only go to farmers who are actively engaged in the operation.

Farm groups were supportive of the legislation. Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the bill puts a new farm law on “a solid road toward success.”

Tom Buis, the CEO of ethanol trade group Growth Energy, urged the House to act. He said Congress needs to pass a farm bill that provides America’s farmers and energy producers “a level of certainty” to run their businesses.


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Senior Contributor

Re: Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies

An additional article on the new Farm Bill that talks about our Crop Insurance. All it states is that 3 new areas of Crop Insurance will be added. I wish they would have gone into more detail of what they mean by: "3 new areas of Crop Insurance will be created". This statement means nothing unless they explain it. And since Crop Insurance is a big deal just from the large amount of money involved for each farmer, it would be really nice to know what these 3 areas will be. Maybe they will come out with additional information on the exact details of this new Crop Insurance so we can start planning ahead for what will be required from us. Anyway, the additional article is below:



U.S. Senate Panel Approves Farm Bill That Expands Crop Insurance



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill on Tuesday, costing $500 billion over a decade, that would expand the scope of the federally subsidized crop insurance program and modestly trim spending on food stamps for the poor.



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The 1,000-page bill now goes to the Senate floor, where a vote could be called as soon as this month.

The House Agriculture Committee was scheduled to draft its farm bill on Wednesday. The new five-year farm law is months overdue after an election-year deadlock in 2012.

Expansion of crop insurance in the Senate bill would be part of a broad remodeling of farm subsidies. Most notably the $5 billion a year direct-payment subsidy to farmers, long a target of reformers, would end.

Separate insurance programs to guarantee revenue to cotton and peanut growers would be created, as well as an insurance program to compensate growers if revenue from other crops drop by more than 10 percent.

Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan, said the bill, by saving $24 billion over 10 years, generated "significant savings."

It would cut food stamps by $4 billion, pare conservation spending by a similar amount and reduce traditional farm subsidies by $17 billion while creating at least three new areas of crop insurance coverage.

Analysts say food stamps are the make-or-break issue for enactment of a new U.S. farm law because Republicans want deep cuts in food stamps and Democrats oppose them.

Farm bills traditionally are carried to passage by a coalition of urban Democrats who support food programs and rural lawmakers who back farm subsidies.

Leaders of the House Agriculture Committee have proposed $20 billion in food stamp cuts that could push 5 million people off the rolls. Some House Republicans want deeper cuts.

In the short run, senators warned of clashes with the House over crop supports. The Senate bill would adjust crop support rates but not raise them as high as the House.

"The House isn't going to accept this," said Senator John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican, who saw the prospect of protracted negotiations. But Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, said high support rates "are a big red flag" because they could invite a world trade complaint.

There are large areas of agreement between the committees, though. Both would create an insurance-like program to protect a farmer's crop revenue from low prices and poor yields. And both would expand crop insurance.

Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, said food stamps should not be cut at all in view of lingering slow economic growth. But food stamp defenders decided not to ask for a vote to cut crop insurance subsidies as a way to prevent the $4 billion in cuts in the bill.

Republicans on the Senate committee lost three votes based on attempts to curtail access to the program. They said they might try again when the Senate debates the farm bill.

Three food stamp critics - Roberts, John Thune of South Dakota and Michael Johanns of Nebraska - voted against approval of the bill, which was cleared on a 15-5 vote. Also voting no were Gillibrand and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Senate bill would require farmers to practice soil conservation to qualify for subsidized crop insurance. House Agriculture Committee leaders rejected that idea in their bill. Crop insurance is the largest part of the farm safety net.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; editing by Ros Krasny and Sofina Mirza-Reid)


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Honored Advisor

Re: Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies

I guess that my perspective about farm bills and subsidies, whether of prices or insurance, is that we who farm see it as government policy to insure our continued operations. In fact, I think that has been more of a means towards the end of keeping Americans fed well enough to keep them pacified.

In truth, so many of our citizens have been falling so far beneath the level of their own subsistence, providing food stamps was a huge means of keeping the peace. It created a captive market for our products in the process. In all honesty, I think cutting access to food is a risky step in budget balancing.
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bruce MN

Re: Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies

We seem to pick and choose who we want to be seen as to fit the immediate issue or matter. We all know all sorts of farmers who can clean up and testify eloquently if his well being is being threatened and turn around the next day back into a hayseed with his hat in his a hand, pleading ignorance or lack of having been informed when he's created or being suspected of having created some ill effect. 


What you say about keeping us in business..."insure our continued operations" went out the door as a piece of policy about 1968 and was pretty much fine tuned by 1980.  Our "partners" in agribusiness and their paid stooges at USDA, The Land Grant Institutions and Congress realized long ago that there was so much land, so much infrastructure etc. and who was plopped down on which parcel  was totally irrelvant to their future as capitalists.


It may sound weird, but knowing full well that somebody else could be doing what we individually are doing drives denial of it all that much harder.


As for food assistance, it's not for us or for our farm gate markets.  It's for the guys up the line. Some of the most ferocious supporters of food stamps and other nutrition elements of the farm bill are among the very same Congressmen and Senators who could care less if the large urban poverty centers or the dirt poor rural pockets in their own Districts and States sunk into the ocean or blew away in the wind.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies/Subsidizing the Chinese

I look at the Crop Insurance Subsidy, since at $48/acre for Iowa farmers, that is by far the biggest subsidy that farmers get. The Direct Subsidy that Iowa farmers get is only $20/acre. So if you combine these 2 subsidies it totals $68/acre. At a normal yield of 220 bushels/acre in Northern Iowa, it comes to only 31 cents per corn bushel. So, all the subsidies that farmers get lowers there cost to produce 1 bushel of corn by only 31 cents. Not a huge amount of money if corn is priced at $7. Now, does this 31 cents per bushel cost savings in the cost of production for 1 bushel of corn get passed down to the end user or the normal American consumer in cheaper corn prices or cheaper food at the grocery store???  I don't have any information if it actually does or if it doesn't. But the only thing we know for 100%, is that the farmers cost to produce 1 bushel of corn is 31 cents per corn bushel lower with these 2 subsidies. Another interesting fact is, that China or any other country that buys our corn, is any of this 31 cents geting passed down to them? Meaning, are we also Subsidizing the average Chinese consumer with corn that is 31 cents lower in production costs, so it results in cheaper pork prices at the retail level in China? Again, I have no information on that issue. The same could be said about soybeans, the combined $68/acre total subsidies works out to lowering the cost to produce 1 bushel of soybeans by around $1.14 a bushel. And the Chinese buy a huge amount of our soybeans, so again, are we also subsidizing the average Chinese consumers grocery bill by $1.14 per soybean bushel, which again is used for hog feed. Does this result is lower pork prices for the Chinese at the grocery store? It's interesting that we have millions and millions of Americans on Food Stamps that costs a huge amount of money, but we may also be subsidizing the average Chinese consumer with lower pork prices that the $1.14 per soybean bushel subsidies could be doing. I do find this interesting that these subsidies could also be carried over to someplace like China, so that the American Taxpayer could be helping lower the cost of food for the Chinese. And if we didn't have enough problems in our own country with the lower income people and food stamps, we may be helping to also feed the Chinese with soybeans that our goverment is paying to help produce by there $1.14 per bushel subsidy that lowers the farmers production cost by $1.14 a bushel. Just an interesting issue I have thought of.

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Re: Senate panel passes farm bill that reduces food stamps, subsidies

One correction in that the manger's amendment group, an amendment to strike the AGI rule was successfully added.
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