Passing The 2007 Farm Bill

The old formula for getting the House and the Senate to approve new farm legislation went like this: Structure the commodity payment programs in a manner that pleased cotton and rice to get the Southern votes, corn and soybeans to get the Midwest vote, wheat to get the plains and prairie state votes, dairy to get some votes from dairy states, and add a generous dose of food stamp and feeding program dollars to give urban and suburban legislators a reason to care. 

This formula has been modified over the years to include more dollars devoted to conservation to quiet a growing effort to improve the environmental profile of agriculture. As Congress gets down to the difficult task of creating a 2007 Farm Bill that can get 218 votes in the House and 51 votes in the Senate, the viability of the old formula may be in question.

The Big Flaws

The big cracks in the formula showed up in 2002 when a not very well organized effort by Rep. Ron Kind produced 200 votes for an amendment that would have gutted the commodity payment programs to primarily increase funding for conservation. The House Ag Committee had nearly lost “their” Farm Bill on the House floor. 

After that, members of the conservation, nutrition, and farm program reform communities saw the possibility that being better prepared and acting together might get them the power to redirect farm program spending to their particular policy needs. At the same time, specialty crop producers were banding together to identify policy priorities that should receive mandatory funding in the 2007 Farm Bill. The goals of the specialty crop growers did not include dismantling the program payments for wheat, cotton, rice, corn, and soybeans. Like it or not, as the policy debate has evolved, the 2007 budget realities seem to dictate modifications in the program crop payments if the specialty crop priorities are to be addressed.

To many Farm Bill veterans, it appears that 2007 will not go like other Farm Bill debates. The forces for change in the structure of the bill are significant. Even the national corn grower organization is dissatisfied with repeating the direction of the 2002 Farm Bill. Given the budget constraints and the make-up of the agriculture committees, the advocates of reform to commodity programs and/or shifts in funding toward nutrition, conservation and specialty crops can expect little or no help in those venues. That leaves the floors of the House and Senate open for the real debate on farm policy.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

Insect & Disease UpdateMountains Of Data Being Used To Combat Citrus Greening
August 20, 2014
As HLB research evolves, new methods need to be developed to effectively utilize information. Read More
VegetablesAnnual Santa Maria Vegetable Meeting To Cover Progressi…
August 20, 2014
University of California Cooperative Extension will host annual vegetable meeting focusing on nutrient management, plant growth, weed management, and more. Read More
Leafy VegetablesTanimura & Antle Introduces New Lettuce Variety 
August 20, 2014
The California grower now offers George T’s Colossal Romaine Heart, in honor of the company's founder, George Tanimura. Read More
CitrusBorder Crisis Not Helping Farmers
August 19, 2014
As thousands cross into the U.S. seeking refuge, calls for ag labor reform are lost in the uproar. Read More
Cucurbits24 Sweet Watermelon Varieties [Slideshow]
August 19, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on 24 watermelon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
FruitsHandheld Produce Quality Meter Debuts At 2014 Internati…
August 19, 2014
Researchers to present data measuring dry matter, color, and sugar content of cherries and other product pre- and postharvest. Read More
GrapesNew York State Assists Grape Growers Hit By Harsh Winte…
August 19, 2014
State to open winegrape market to grapes grown outside the state. Read More
FruitsEuropean Fruit And Vegetable Growers Hit By Russian Ban…
August 19, 2014
Angry at European Union/United States sanctions over Ukraine, Russia has banned many food imports. Read More
Apple Grower of the YearGet The Latest News On The Nation’s Apple Crop
August 19, 2014
American and Western Fruit Grower editors will be tweeting in real time this week from the Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference. Read More
OrangesSour Forecast For 2014-2015 Florida Orange Crop
August 18, 2014
Paltry prediction signals lowest output in 50 years. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioConsortia Inc. Bolsters Executive Team
August 18, 2014
Industry veterans Christina Huben and Dr. Susan Turner bring experience to plant biotechnology firm. Read More
Stone Fruit‘Ladderless’ Peach, Nectarine Orchards Explored
August 15, 2014
University of California researchers explore the concept of so-called pedestrian orchards. Read More
CitrusU.S. Sugar Buying South Florida Sugar Cane And Vegetabl…
August 15, 2014
Purported deal worth $100 million to purchase farmland and assets of Knight Management Inc. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge…
August 15, 2014
Class 3 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program learn a lot from road trip to California's Salinas Valley. Read More
CitrusWater Bond Will Appear On California Ballot
August 14, 2014
Voters will decide if thirsty state will spend $7.5 billion, including $2.7 billion for storage. Read More
BerriesFamiliar Face Settles In As New Florida Strawberry Asso…
August 14, 2014
Kenneth Parker’s deep roots in the community and knowledge of production challenges make a good combination for executive director role. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateIs There Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Florida Cit…
August 14, 2014
Time is of the essence in the race to beat greening. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCoca-Cola Shares Additional $1.5 Million To Fight Citru…
August 14, 2014
Grant to help UF/IFAS researchers work toward a solution for devastating disease. Read More