Other Highlights of House Ag’s Farm Bill Draft
The House Agriculture Committee release on the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 notes reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will save more than 20-billion dollars. That cut - which comes from changes to categorical eligibility and a requirement that states make at least 20-dollars in payments for energy assistance for people to be eligible for food assistance - is a cut of just 2.5-percent. The cut made to commodity programs is 34-percent. The bill doesn't include conservation compliance for crop insurance or any income eligibility limitations for crop insurance - nor does it shift international food assistance programs to cash assistance as proposed by the Obama Administration. The FARRM Act creates a Revenue Loss Coverage program - the equivalent of the Senate Agricultural Risk Coverage program - and a Price Loss Coverage program with payments based on reference or target prices. Both of these programs would make payments on current planted acreage up to a level of the farm's overall base acreage. The new cotton program known as STAX is included in the measure - but it does not include a target price. The program would be based on revenue - with payments made on loss of revenue in a county. The hope is that this can resolve the WTO cotton case the U.S. lost to Brazil. Because the Risk Management Agency has said it can't implement STAX for the 2014 crop year - and can't guarantee it's availability in all counties for 2015 - cotton growers would receive transition payments for 2014 and 2015.
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