WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2012 – If President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner can cut a deal on a “fiscal cliff” package that includes a new five-year farm bill, it appears that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is also willing to compromise on commodity program provisions that he has long opposed.
POLITICO reported this afternoon that Roberts said he is now prepared to compromise on the commodity title and accept the House Agriculture Committee’s target price supports embraced largely by southern cotton, rice and peanut interests. For Roberts, the core component of the farm safety net should be crop insurance – a program that he has long vowed to protect.
The senior senator from Kansas has long opposed establishing target prices in recent farm bills because of the potential to distort plantings and invoke international trading challenges from members of the World Trade Organization. But if he drops his opposition to some of those commodity provisions in the version passed by the House Agriculture Committee in July, it would remove one of the two biggest obstacles to meshing the Senate and House versions of the bill. The other primary difference revolves around the level of food stamp cuts.
Asked exactly what types of target price provisions he was willing to accept, Roberts spokesperson Sarah Little said "Senator Roberts comments are consistent with what he has said previously: He wants a five year farm bill and he is open to compromise.
“As part of that compromise he is willing to look at a price component to address the concerns of specific regions of the country. However, as he has stated previously, any price component must be based on solid data and it must have as minimal impact as possible on planting decisions."
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