House Ag Committee Gets to Work on Farm Bill
As a farmer and rancher - House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said Wednesday as the committee prepared to consider the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act that he knows how risky it is to make a living as a farmer. He noted checking the weather multiple times each day because a dream crop can turn into a disaster at a moment's notice. That's why he said the goal of the FARRM Act was to give producers choices to better manage risk - whether through improved crop insurance products, a new revenue program or a price protection mechanism. Lucas said farm bill programs should not guarantee that the good times are the best - but that the bad times are manageable.
According to Lucas - the FARRM Act provides deficit reduction and reform. It's tough - but fair. He said the measure is a culmination of years of work - including comprehensive audit hearings, field hearings in the countryside and a hearing series in the nation's capital with agricultural leaders. Lucas said the information gathered from those hearings led the committee to this point - to consider a balanced, reform-minded, fiscally responsible bill; to consider policy that works for all regions and all crops; to consider improvements that increase program efficiency, integrity and accountability. Lucas told committee members the bill underscores a commitment to production agriculture and rural America, achieves real savings and continues to provide nutrition assistance for needy American families.
Ranking Member Collin Peterson took time at the start of the committee meeting Wednesday to again stress the importance of completing the 2012 Farm Bill and sending it to the President before the 2008 bill expires at the end of September. He pointed out that there are only 13 legislative days before the August recess. If the House leadership fails to bring up the farm bill before that recess - he said they jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of the nation's fragile economy. He noted that farmers need the certainty of a five year farm bill. Peterson told members they can't wait for the lame duck - and said an extension of current farm policy potentially creates more problems than it solves.
On the bill's merits - Peterson said he was pleased to see a commodity title that will work for all parts of the country, continued support for the no-cost sugar program and his Dairy Security Act that would reform current dairy programs. But Peterson has concerns with proposed changes to nutrition programs. He said there are better, more responsible ways to improve and reform federal nutrition programs. Still - Peterson said the bottom line was the legislation needed to move - and he understood the cuts were needed in order to get the farm bill through Committee and through the House floor.
© 2013 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information