House Ag Committee releases farm bill draft
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About 80% of the farm bill baseline is devoted to funding for SNAP and other nutrition programs.
“This bill is an investment in production agriculture and rural America,” said Chairman Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla. “Those of us in the agriculture community are quick to point out that our producers provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. We say it because it's true. This legislation is a commitment to maintaining that tradition.”
Under the House Ag Committee's version, both price and revenue will pay on 85% of planted acres up to total base, but cannot exceed the total base.
Producers would make a one-time choice up front for the life of the five-year bill on a crop by crop and farm by farm basis, so they can select different options for different crops and farms.
According to Agriculture Committee aides, the price coverage option works similar to the counter-cyclical program, and is based on a five-month national average market price. Producers also have the option to update their yield, either the maximum of their current counter-cyclical yields or 90 percent of the five-year average yield from 2008-2012. This change will help producers who have invested in biotechnology and seed varieties that have experienced yield gains which are not currently reflected in their yield calculations.
The loss threshold in the Senate's revenue loss plan, or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) is set at 89%, but the House Agriculture Committee set it at 85% in the RLC- a level which leaders view as more politically defensible than the Senate version. According to committee aides, the calculations are based on the same model as the Senate's, but a producer needs to have an at least 15% loss to trigger the payment. Once it triggers, it will provide more substantial support, according to the committee.
The House bill gives a 70% price plug to all commodities, while the Senate version gave a yield plug to only rice and peanuts. The following list includes reference prices included in the House bill. Most are similar to those proposed last fall to the deficit-reduction "Super" Committee. However, the barley price is higher than in 2008, because the price is now based on malt barley instead of feed barley to reflect today's market.
Other Oilseeds, $20.15/cwt.
Dry peas, $11.00 cwt
Raw chick peas, $19.04
Commodity program payment limits are set at $125,000 per person, with one limit per eligible spouse, plus separate limits for peanuts.
The conservation title is similar to the Senate's, and consolidates 23 programs into 13.
FARRM replaces the current dairy programs with a new, voluntary risk management safety net for dairy producers, modeled after a proposal by the National Milk Producers Federation. Dairy producers will have the option to sign up for the basic margin program, helping them to better manage risk when milk prices and feed costs converge. Producers that sign up for the margin program would then be subject to supply management controls, wherein proceeds of milk sales normally received by the producer would be reduced for the production which exceeds an applicable percentage of their designated base. Funds collected by this program will be used by USDA to purchase surplus dairy products for donations to food banks and other programs.
The House bill does include H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011, a version of which failed to be incorporated in the Senate bill. The regulatory bill initially passed the House last year and amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from requiring a permit under the CWA for a discharge of a pesticide from a point source into navigable waters.
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