Today's update looks at recent news items discussing the Farm Bill, with specific focus on the potential timing of when Congress may take up the legislation. Lawmaker perspectives on provisions in the bill, including CRP issues, payment limits, and SNAP, are also discussed.
Last week, Don Wick, a farm broadcaster from the Red River Farm Network (Grand Forks, N.D.), sat down with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss current Farm Bill issues. Notably, he spoke with both the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Mike Conaway, as well as the Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. Today's update includes key elements from these lawmaker conversations with the Red River Farm Network.
Jacqui Fatka reported on Friday at Farm Futures Online that, "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said [on October 25th] that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has sped up its analysis of farm bill provisions that the committee is considering. He told reporters that the committee is still on track to bring out a bill before the end of the year or early 2018."
On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to consider three nominees for key trade positions, while the Senate Ag Committee questioned two nominees for Undersecretary posts at the USDA. Today's update highlights some key points from the hearings, including issues related to agricultural trade and the Conservation Reserve Program.
On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held its ninth Farm Bill hearing where the panel turned its attention to rural development and energy programs. Recall that a House Agriculture Subcommittee explored similar issues back in March. Today's update provides a brief overview of yesterday's hearing with particular focus on rural broadband Internet access and the opioid epidemic, two issues that were raised by lawmakers.
Last week, the USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) released an analysis of the Federal crop insurance portfolio titled, "The Risk Management Safety Net: Market Penetration and Market Potential." Today's update recaps some of the key findings from the RMA report.
On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill hearing that focused on nutrition programs and the 2018 Farm Bill. This was the Committee's eighth Farm Bill hearing, and followed field hearings in both Kansas and Michigan, as well as Committee meetings on the farm economy, agricultural research, conservation issues and commodity, credit, and crop insurance programs. The hearing focused on fraud in the SNAP program (food stamps), and specifically highlighted program payment error rates and misreporting of program costs by some states.
Today's update continues the focus on news items highlighting the attention Representatives and Senators placed on Farm Bill issues during the August recess. As lawmakers get set to return to Washington, D.C. next week, today's update provides an overview of some of this summer's Farm Bill constituent engagements, and also looks briefly at news articles describing the current state of the agricultural economy.
Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report titled, "Farm Safety-Net Payments Under the 2014 Farm Bill: Comparison by Program Crop," which stated in part that, "Through the first three years of the 2014 farm bill (2014 through 2016), USDA has spent over $38 billion on commodity-specific farm program outlays. Annually, commodity-specific outlays are estimated at $12.7 billion per year, including $7.5 billion for CCC [Commodity Credit Corporation] programs and $5.2 billion in FCIC [Federal Crop Insurance Corporation] crop insurance premium subsidies." Today's update focuses on several highlights of the CRS report.
Today's update looks at recent news articles highlighting agricultural economic variables, as well as Farm Bill observations from lawmakers, and some of the ag related activities Members have held with constituents during the August recess. Today's overview also includes observations from Bloomberg writer Alan Bjerga on the link between these current economic conditions and policy perspectives lawmakers may take back with them to Washington, D.C. when the Farm Bill debate gets more focused this fall.