Ag Policy Blog

A Look at Farm Bill Amendments

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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With prospects that the House of Representatives could debate and vote on a farm bill later this week, the House Rules Committee is scheduled to begin meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol to winnow down the 106 amendments to the bill that have been filed for the legislation.

The vast majority of the amendments come from Republicans as Democrats have insisted they won't participate in helping shape the legislation. Still, there are a small number of Democrats who have pushed on various issues in the past and wanted to lay down their markers again.

Below is by no means a comprehensive list of amendments, but they hit the highlights in different titles.

Commodity Programs

Reps. Michael Burgess, R-Texas and Earl Blumenauer, R-Oregon want to limit spending on ARC and PLC to 110% of CBO scoring for fiscal years 21-25.

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., has an amendment that would reverse the cotton eligibility for Title I programs -- ARC or PLC.

Kind and Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., would limit commodity and conservation assistance to farmers with $500,000 or less adjusted gross income. They and others introduced a similar amendment for crop insurance premium subsidies.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., would strip language allowing pass-through entities to exclude marketing loan benefits from the Adjusted Gross Income limits. Posey's amendment would also remove cousins, nieces and nephews from ARC and PLC payments.

Blumenauer has a separate amendment setting a $125,000 payment cap and $500,000 adjusted gross income limit. It would also strike the separate payment-limit carve-out for peanuts. Blumenauer has another amendment to tighten payment limits for several programs.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., wants to limit commodity program payments only to actively engaged farmers and one farm manager.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., would phase out agricultural subsidies.

A bi-partisan amendment spearheaded by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., would reform the sugar program by removing barriers to domestic production and implementing market reforms.

Conservation

Kind, D-Wis., would reinstate the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would allow drainage districts that provide irrigation to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., would cap CRP at 24 million acres. (The House bill increases CRP to 29 million acres.)

SNAP amendments

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., would prohibit the purchase of carbonated beverages with SNAP benefits. A similar amendment was introduced by Reps. John Faso, R-N.Y., and Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.

Grothman also wants to increase the work eligibility requirements form 20 hours a week to 30 hours.

Rep. Ron Estes, R- Kansas, wants to repeals broad-based categorical eligibility.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., would allow transparency of store sales of SNAP transactions.

Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Burgess, R-Texas, want a GAO pilot program to determine whether specific items being purchased through SNAP can be collected using existing reporting requirements.

Reps. George Holding, R-N.C, and Tom Reed, R-NY, want to prohibit convicted rapists, pedophiles and murderers from collecting SNAP benefits.

Rogers, R-Ala., would allow SNAP users to buy multivitamins with SNAP benefits.

McClintock, R-Calif., would repeal geographical waivers and allow states to exempt 5% of SNAP recipients from job requirements. Amendment also would set new work requirements for married parents and change an age exemption for parents with children under age 6 to age 3.

McClintock also would restrict SNAP benefits to the same products sold under the Women and Infant Children program.

Crop insurance

Reps Mark Sanford, R-S.C, and Ron Kind, D-Wis. -- lowers the profit margin target rate that crop insurance companies are guaranteed from 14.5% to 12%.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., -- reduces crop-insurance premium subsidies for insurance companies by 15 percentage points, except for catastrophic coverage.

Kind also has an amendment to allow public disclosure of crop insurance premium subsidies.

Reps. John Duncan, R-Tenn., and Norman, R-S.C., would eliminate the subsidy for the Harvest Price Option insurance.

A bipartisan amendment four congressman would limit crop-insurance premium subsidies to farmers that have adjusted gross income below $500,000.

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., would amend federal crop insurance rules to ensure tobacco doesn’t receive subsidized premiums.

Energy

Rep. Posey, R-Fla., -- would prohibit USDA from using Commodity Credit Corp funds for biofuel infrastructure such as blender pumps.

Odds and Ends

Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., Blumenauer and Dina Titus, R-Nevada, want more transparency and accountability for checkoff programs.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wants to delist the gray wolf range-wide.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, wans to prohibit federal interference with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products between states that allow the distribution of unpasteurized milk and related products for human consumption.

Blumenauer, among the several amendments he offered, would create a new farm bill title on Food Waste, and establish a USDA office on food waste.

Massie also wants to allow the freedom to permit intrastate shipments of custom-slaughtered meat.

Massie and Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marijuana." A separate amendment with six other co-sponsors goes further to identify hemp as a USDA agricultural commodity.

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., would give financial institutions "safe harbor" for doing business with hemp companies.

Three GOP congressmen would delay any Endangered Species Act listing of the lesser prairie chicken.

Four GOP congressmen seek to define "navigable waters" under the Clean Water Act with an amendment.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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SD Farmer
5/15/2018 | 7:30 AM CDT
What happened to draining the swamp? How about some reforming sod-swamp? Promote drainage as soil health and at the same time save crop losses, crop insurance and disaster payments that would make sense! We as farmers have the worst negotiators! This is a Farm Bill for non-farming interests! Where are the Trumpers here? What a bunch of fakes!