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
LegislationUSDA: Quick Implementation Of Disaster Assistance Programs A ‘Top Priority’
July 9, 2014
USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between Oct. 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Read More
LegislationTFI Praises White House For Signing WRRDA Into Law
June 11, 2014
The bill streamlines U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects, prioritizes authorized waterway improvements and provides needed adjustments to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Read More
LegislationAg Policy: Plenty Of Fertilizer Issues Ahead
January 2, 2014
From West Fertilizer to the Chesapeake Bay, fertilizer producers and dealers are keeping an eye on several Beltway developments in 2014. Read More
Farm Bill
LegislationLack Of Farm Bill Leaves Farmers Facing Uncertainty In 2014
December 13, 2013
With just a few legislative working days remaining in 2013, the likelihood of a new farm bill is waning, leaving farmers in limbo once again. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
Industry NewsArysta Hires New Midwest Territory Sales Manager
March 5, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently named Jonathan “Jon” Tone as the Territory Sales Manager in the Midwest sales region. Read More
Fertilizer360 Yield Center: Try These 5 Steps To Fine Tune Nitrog…
March 5, 2015
Yield Center 360 advises that an effective nitrogen management plan needs to focus on how much N a particular field and corn crop needs, as well as how to properly manage N throughout the growing season — with adjustments along the way. Read More
Precision AgFarmobile Coming Online In 2015
March 5, 2015
A new startup is looking to make collecting and selling ag data a more rewarding proposition for growers. Read More
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More