Thursday, June 30, 2011

Just in from Washington

Agriculture Facing Challenges on Capitol Hill
Washington--The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reports today on the challenges agriculture is now facing in Congress. “Federal belt-tightening has worried Washington lobbyists across the board, but perhaps no sector is more nervous these days than the agriculture industry,” the publication states.

Roll Call reports that farm program direct payments are particularly vulnerable in the current environment and cuts in farm payments will “almost inevitably be part of whatever budget deal comes out of bipartisan negotiations between Vice President Joseph Biden and congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling.”

It is generally accepted that there will be less money in the next farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee is holding a series of subcommittee hearings labeled as “audits” that indicate the committee is preparing for farm program cuts.

“This farm bill will be developed under a very different fiscal climate than recent farm bills,” House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said. “Obviously, there is going to be no new money. Every program in every title will be on the table, and we will have to make some difficult decisions.”

Roll Call article

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