There are only a handful of states in this country that needs to see Congress pass a Farm Bill more than the state of Florida for a number of reasons. Behind tourism the Sunshine boasts a very impressive farming portfolio and then there are the people who need some help via the SNAP program.
This morning in POLITICO they addressed where the bill is headed and what it will take to get something passed before the end of 2013. As House-Senate talks resume today, the bad blood among rival commodity groups is becoming an embarrassment for farm bill advocates and a threat to getting legislation through Congress this winter.
Cotton and rice recently took a shot at corn and soybeans in a letter about proposed payment limits in both bills. Corn and beans went directly after House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) last week — threatening to kill the farm bill and seek a two-year extension that will run past his tenure as chairman.
If JPMorgan had written such a letter to a tax-writing chairman in Congress, it would have stirred an immense fuss. But given the poor state of affairs in the farm world, the corn-and-beans threats drew little notice.
“The traditional coalition has broken down,” Lucas told POLITICO. And to a surprising degree, commodity groups are instead picking sides between Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Stabenow is expected to outline a full-fledged Senate framework in response to Lucas. But it’s almost certain the new farm bill will include two options in its commodity title: a Senate plan geared to revenues and a House alternative keyed more to production costs.
Both promise to save money, but each has run into trouble for insisting that farmers be paid on what they actually plant — not the artificial “base acre” formula used now for direct payments. More..