Reaction to House Ag Farm Bill Continues to Stream In

When the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 - approved by the House Agriculture Committee late Wednesday - is considered by the full House - the National Cotton Council will encourage Cotton Belt Representatives to support the work of the Agriculture Committee and oppose damaging amendments. NCC is especially grateful to Chairman Frank Lucas for his leadership in including the Stacked Income Protection Plan - or STAX - and transition payments to assist growers and their lenders until STAX can be fully implemented. According to NCC - this provides growers with certainty and provides the basis for a final resolution of the longstanding Brazil WTO case. NCC Chairman Jimmy Dodson says the committee addressed the interests of the entire cotton industry by including provisions to assist U.S. textile manufacturers, extending the marketing loan and adjusted world price redemption process, maintaining reasonable limitations and eligibility requirements, extending the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program and extending the extra-long staple cotton program.

National Sorghum Producers says the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 strengthens crop insurance and leaves the commodity title relatively intact - including reference prices and producer choice. These were priorities of the group. According to NSP - the bill achieves substantial budget savings while maintaining balanced and solid protection for America's farmers and ranchers.

For the National Cattlemen's Beef Association - portions of the House Ag farm bill included priorities important to cattlemen and women - including permanent disaster programs, the elimination of the livestock title, maintaining of conservation programs and a strong research title. NCBA President Scott George says the disaster assistance would provide certainty to cattlemen and women who are affected by disastrous weather events and continue to contribute to the nation's strong agriculture industry. He says the inclusion of disaster assistance programs is a positive step toward providing a strong safety net for producers. George says NCBA was also encouraged by the amendment introduced by Representative Steve King that would prohibit states from setting production standards for foods brought in from other states. He says the amendment would keep decisions regarding how livestock and poultry are raised in the hands of farmers and ranchers where they belong. According to George - NCBA is supportive of the House version of the farm bill and hopes both the full House and Senate take up their respective bills soon and continue to move forward with passing a 2013 Farm Bill which is positive for cattle producers and gives rural America much needed certainty.

According to the National Association of Conservation Districts - the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 demonstrates bipartisan recognition and appreciation for the significant value of locally-led conservation in supporting the nation's long-term environmental and economic stability. NACD President Earl Garber says the group will continue to work closely with members of the House and Senate throughout the farm bill process to ensure a strong final version of the legislation that protects critical conservation program funding and increases conservation program efficiency and ease of use for producers. NACD says farm bill conservation programs not only play a key role in supporting clean air, clean water and productive soils - but also help producers avoid unnecessary regulation and support the nation's long-term economic and food security.

The Coalition for Sugar Reform applauded Virginia's Bob Goodlatte for his farm bill amendment to reform the sugar program - and his decision to bring the amendment to the House floor so the full House has the opportunity to vote for sugar program reform. The Coalition says Goodlatte deserves recognition for his strong commitment to standing up for American consumers and businesses that have been forced to pay a 14-billion dollar hidden tax on sugar since the 2008 Farm Bill. Goodlatte is part of a bipartisan group of policymakers who introduced the Sugar Reform Act. The Coalition says the bill would not repeal the sugar program - but would roll back the most costly, restrictive and market-distorting provisions of the sugar program enacted as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

Novozymes expressed a need to fully fund the energy programs in the farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee excluded mandatory funding from the version of the bill it passed. Adam Monroe of Novozymes says stable farm and energy policy is good for America. He says it creates jobs, supports our farmers and encourages private investment. He says funded farm and energy policy is better - as it puts those benefits into action. On that score - Monroe says the leading producer of enzymes that turns biomass into biofuels is concerned the House bill missed the mark. Novozymes hopes to see the House follow the Senate Ag Committee's lead and support a strong, fully-funded energy title.

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