Ag Policy Blog

Aggies Await Farm Bill Scores, But Action Expected Next Week

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters Wednesday that they are still waiting for final scores on the farm bill from the Congressional Budget Office.

Roberts described the remaining scoring questions as “minor.”

Stabenow sounded apologetic as she told reporters that the answer to the question of where the farm bill stands is that they are waiting for scores. But Stabenow also noted in CBO’s defense that “it’s a big bill.”

Roberts and Stabenow spoke to reporters in the President’s Room off the Senate floor after the committee met to vote on three of President Donald Trump’s nominees for positions at the Agriculture Department.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., told reporters earlier this week that he expects the bill to be filed Monday and to be voted on by the House next Wednesday or Thursday, with the Senate to follow a day later, the Star Tribune reported.

“With any luck,” Congress will pass the bill by the end of next week, Peterson said. But he added, “Knowing how things go around here, it may drag into the week after, whatever. But I think we are going to get the thing done before the end of the year, which is what I’ve been pushing for," the MinnPost reported.

Some of the details Peterson has provided in interviews and comments include:

-Changing the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage to using yields reported by crop insurance companies to the Risk Management Agency. After 2021, farmers would also be allowed to switch crops annually between ARC and PLC.

-Increases in the marketing loan rates by about 15% for corn to $2.20 a bushel; $2.50 for barley and about a 5% increase for sugar beets to 23 cents a pound.

-Boost Conservation Reserve Program from 24 million to 27 million acres while lowering the rental payment to 85% of the average county rate for general sign up and 90% for continuous signup.

-Direct loans from the Farm Service Agency would see limits raised from $300,000 to $600,000 and loan guarantees would be increased to $1.75 million.

-Raise margin protection for dairy producers to $9.50 coverage for feed costs.

-Allow nieces, nephews and cousins to qualify for commodity programs while keeping the individual payment limit at $125,000. The bill also keeps the adjusted gross income (AGI) cap at $900,000, same as current law.

Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald…


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