WASHINGTON, July 27, 2012- House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., issued a statement Friday afternoon regarding a package to be considered in the House next week that includes disaster assistance programs and a one-year extension of current farm policy. The cost of the package is $621 million over 10 years with a net savings of $399 million.
The package scheduled for the House floor includes a section that extends the 2008 Farm Bill, as well as a section re-authorizing livestock disaster assistance policies for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Conservation program offsets are used to pay for these reauthorizations. Direct payments—which are currently paid on 85 percent of a producer’s base acres—will be paid on 84.5 percent as a partial offset, according to a release from the House Agriculture Committee today.
"Next week’s schedule calls for consideration of a package that includes disaster assistance programs and a one-year extension of current farm policy,” Lucas said. “It is critical that we provide certainty to our producers and address the devastating drought conditions that are affecting most of the country and I look forward to supporting and advancing this legislation."
According to the House Agriculture Committee, the package is broken down as follows:
Section 1. One-Year Extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Provides a one-year extension of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, with certain modifications.
Section 2. Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance.
The current livestock disaster policies expired in September 2011, one year before the end of the 2008 farm bill. This legislation would re-authorize these policies for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Specifically, Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP), Livestock Forage Disaster Programs (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) are all generally reauthorized.
To pay for this disaster assistance, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is capped at $1.4 billion; the Conservation Stewardship Program is capped at 11 million acres; the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program is capped at $150 million; and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is capped at $45 million. These offsets are consistent with levels previously established by enacted appropriations—which reduced levels authorized by the Agriculture Committees—and will still allow these important programs to function at recent funding levels. In addition, direct payments—which are currently paid on 85 percent of a producer’s base acres—is paid on 84.5 percent as a partial offset.
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