Farm Bill Warm-Up

Have your ears been burning out there in the Heartland? Lawmakers in the Beltway are suddenly talking a whole lot more about agriculture. Not surprisingly, we are also inside of two months away (as I write this column — as you read this, a handful of weeks) from what could be a landmark election day in November.

Of course, much of it now is meaningless posturing — attempts to demonstrate commitment to constituencies in the event anyone has felt neglected. But some of the early salvos being hurled around the Beltway regarding the impending Farm Bill debate are worthy of taking note going into the 2007 season.

As you should already know, the 2002 Farm Bill is set to expire next year. Simultaneously, the world has been putting tremendous pressure on the U.S. to eliminate government subsidies to create a better competitive balance for agriculture around the world. The lightning rod for this has been the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Doha Round has been charged with, among many things, lowering agriculture trade barriers around the world, permitting freer trade between countries. 

So far, its biggest accomplishment has been to force countries to draw lines in the sand as to how far they are willing to negotiate, and most experts put the likelihood of a meaningful outcome in the current environment at near zero.

So what? Well, many in agriculture hope that with Doha on life support, the U.S. won’t have to make any hard decisions about subsidies, and might just reauthorize the old farm bill. For better or worse, that’s probably not in the cards.

There are a number of reasons for this. One of the biggest is the two-headed monster of the growing federal budget deficit and the ongoing (and with no end in sight) War on Terrorism. There is little taste for what the public will surely perceive as excessive government subsidies in the kind of rapid, once-over-lightly analysis our media gives these sorts of topics.

The second is the pulse of the Beltway, which according to some observers has taken a decidedly negative bend against what it perceives as greedy corporate farmers peeling away precious federal dollars from a strapped government. Unfortunately, there is some truth to the argument that undeserving growers are getting some healthy cash payouts.

The third comes directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak — Ag Secretary Mike Johanns. Earlier this year he warned agriculture that it would need to do its share to help reel in governmental spending, and to help craft farm policy that both protects U.S. ag interests and reduces the risk of WTO challenges globally. Recent speeches indicate that the impaired Doha situation will not impede reform discussions.

“At the risk of irritating some people … who might not support farm programs, let me tell you — I do,” said Johanns in a speech to the Cato Institute last month. “I have always argued … that federal investment in agriculture is wise, it’s worthwhile policy. But how we do it is enormously important. It should be done in a way that’s pro-trade, pro-growth, and fiscally responsible. That’s what’s expected of us by our farmers and ranchers and taxpayers.”

Stay tuned. It could turn into a very bumpy ride.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Legislation Stories

Soybean Plant closeup
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Pat Tiberi Legislator Of The Year
August 3, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of The Year
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More
Grower Truck at retailer
CropLife 100ARA Seeks Comment on Ag Driver Sleep Apnea Issue
July 5, 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking public Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsanto-Bayer, GMO-Labeling and TPP
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Trending Articles
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Latest News
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More
Crop InputsFBN: We’re ‘Here To Stay’
August 11, 2016
PERSPECTIVE — If you’ve been following this site for a while you might remember a certain editorial we published on Read More
Diversified Agri-Services
StewardshipDiversified Agri-Services Certified In 4R Nutrient Stew…
August 11, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that Diversified Agri-Services Inc. in McCutchenville, OH, has been added to its growing Read More
Soil
FertilizerSoil Health Experts Gain Ground On Standardized Measure…
August 11, 2016
Soil health experts from across North America plan to integrate more research projects to provide agricultural producers and policy makers Read More
Regulator 3.0 Concentrate
AdjuvantsNew Max Systems Product Aids Irrigation
August 11, 2016
A gentle rainfall is nearly always welcomed by crop producers, including those who rely on irrigation to produce a profitable Read More