Farm Bureau Shares Priorities, Concerns with Senate Ahead of Farm Bill Debate
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the Senate Agriculture Committee's proposed 2012 farm bill could move toward the organization's core principles for rational, acceptable farm policy with a few improvements. He sent a letter to the Senate Monday to outline Farm Bureau's priorities in - and concerns about - the farm bill expected to come to the floor this week. According to Stallman - Farm Bureau places a priority on several of the committee's decisions - including using the 23-billion dollars in savings suggested to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction last fall; protecting and strengthening the federal crop insurance program; developing a commodity title that attempts to encourage producers to follow market signals and refraining from basing any program on cost of production. But Farm Bureau believes some areas - including the Agriculture Risk Coverage Eligible Acres provisions and payment limits - could benefit from additional policy work.
Farm Bureau would like to address the net effect of the Agriculture Risk Coverage Eligible Acres provisions to ensure a true "planted acres" approach and avoid recreating "base acres" issues that have raised equity and planting distortion concerns. The group would also like current payment limits and Adjusted Gross Income provisions in current law re-instituted.
Stallman says Farm Bureau supports a single program option for the commodity title that extends to all crops - and believes the safety net should be comprised of a strong crop insurance program, with continuation of the marketing loan program and a catastrophic revenue loss program based on county level losses for each crop. Farm Bureau says this approach can easily be tailored to provide a safety net that meets regional and commodity differences while meeting the established savings target. After analyzing number from the Congressional Budget Office - Farm Bureau now believes it's possible to provide support at the 80-percent revenue level of coverage for all program crops and five fruits and vegetables rather than a more limited group of crops at a lower revenue level - which they originally proposed.
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