Farm Bill 2012: House Committee Approves 5-Year Farm Bill

Farm BillThe House Agriculture Committee has approved a five-year farm and nutrition bill that gives farmers new ways to protect themselves from bad weather and poor prices and slices about 2% off the $80 billion the government spends every year on food stamps.

The 35-11 committee vote comes three weeks after the Senate passed its version of the half-trillion-dollar bill and shifts the focus to the full House as Congress seeks to come up with a consensus bill before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.

House Republican leaders have shown little enthusiasm for taking up legislation that faces opposition from conservatives who say it is too expensive. Democrats, meanwhile, don’t like the cuts in food stamps.

The bill costs nearly $100 billion a year, with 80% devoted to food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The House legislation would save $3.5 billion a year from current spending levels, with $1.6 billion coming from tightening rules for food stamp beneficiaries. Savings in the Senate bill are $2.3 billion a year, of which $400 million comes from the food stamp program.

While the House legislation, like its Senate counterpart, envisions major changes in farm safety nets, the most heated debate during the 15-hour committee meeting was on food stamps. Amendments by both Democrats to erase reductions and Republicans to increase those cuts failed.

The panel defeated, on a 31-15 vote, a proposal by Rep. Jim McGovern, D-MA, that would have eliminated all the proposed cuts to food stamps. The cuts, he said, would deprive some 2 million to 3 million people of food assistance and would “literally take food away from hungry people.”

But Republicans pointed to the sharp rise in beneficiaries, from 19 million in 2002 to 46 million a decade later, and current policies that encourage further enrollment as a means to stimulate the economy or fight obesity by promoting healthier eating. The proposed House cuts would target practices by many states of waiving food stamp asset and income limits for people receiving other welfare benefits or giving minimal heating aid to people so they are eligible for increased food stamp assistance.

The committee chairman, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-OK, stressed that no qualified people would be deprived of help. “I believe most Americans will agree that a 2% cut in food stamps is reasonable,” he said.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Collin Peterson of MN, also voted against the McGovern amendment, saying that while he was concerned about changes to nutrition programs in the bill, “I understand that these are the cuts that need to be done” to get the bill through the committee and the House.

Later, half of the 26 Republicans on the committee joined Democrats in a 33-13 vote to defeat an amendment by Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-KS, to double the food stamp reductions to $3.3 billion a year. Several Republicans acknowledged that deeper cuts would make it more difficult to reach a compromise with the Democratic-led Senate.

The House bill also differs from its Senate counterpart by preserving a price support program that pays farmers when prices fall below certain levels. The target price system is favored by Southern rice and peanut farmers, who objected to the elimination of price supports in the Senate bill.

The House measure gives farmers a choice between the price support program and a taxpayer-paid revenue protection program included in the Senate bill that compensates farmers for modest revenue losses before subsidized crop insurance kicks in. The need for a strong safety net program became more pronounced as heat and drought threatened to seriously damage the Midwestern corn crop.

The committee also:

  • Defeated, by 36-10, an amendment by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-VA, that would have brought changes to federal sugar policy that for eight decades has protected beet and sugarcane growers and sugar refiners by controlling prices and limiting imports. Goodlatte argued that government supports drove up prices, forced food companies to move overseas and cost jobs. The amendment was pushed by beverage companies, confectioners and consumer groups. Supporters of the current policy said it did not cost the government anything and protected producers from a surge in Mexican or Brazilian imports.
  • Rejected, by 29-17, another amendment by Goodlatte and Rep. David Scott, D-GA, that would have removed a requirement for dairy farmers participating in a new voluntary risk management program to also agree to be subject to supply management controls where they would have to cut production when surpluses drive down prices.
  • Approved, by voice vote, an amendment by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, that would bar states from regulating how agricultural goods are produced so as to restrict access to goods from other states. Examples cited were how states might set rules for the treatment of poultry in egg production.
  • Defeated, by 25-20, an amendment by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, that would have eliminated a proposed Agriculture Department catfish inspection office. Opponents of the new office said its real goal is to protect U.S. catfish growers from imports. The Senate approved a similar proposal.
  • Approved, by voice vote, an amendment by Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-OH, that prohibits people from claiming medical marijuana as a medical cost for the purpose of determining food stamp eligibility. Schmidt also won approval of two amendments dealing with the efficacy of products alleged to combat bed bugs.
Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump Tower Pilgrimage
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Plants
ManagementTimac Agro USA Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
January 20, 2017
Timac Agro USA, an agriculture supply company specializing in high-efficiency plant and animal nutrition products, has acquired St. Louis,MI-based A&E Ag, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsNufarm Teams Up With John Deere Financial
January 19, 2017
Nufarm and John Deere Financial have teamed up to help farmers grow a better tomorrow. This program helps make purchases Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
ManagementPresident Trump, Wisconsin Review, and a Dow-DuPont Upd…
January 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj reflect on a new administration, a recent winter show, and crop protection company mergers. Read More
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning …
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More