Negotiations on a farm policy proposal for the debt-deficit super committee reached the eleventh hour this week, as members worked to find a combination of programs that could help protect farm risk across the country.
On Tuesday, NAWG joined a coalition in writing the principal leaders of both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, praising their bipartisan and bicameral work while also laying a number of concerns about a proposed target price option.
The groups supported flexibility in planting decisions, as well as a revenue program that helps to moderate volatility in weather and markets and functions at the farm level. The groups also said that any new or revised safety net program should build on the foundation of crop insurance.
Other groups signing onto the letter included the American Soybean Association, the National Barley Growers Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Sunflower Association, the U.S. Canola Association and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council – which together represent more than 70 percent of the nation’s field crop acreage.
By law, the super committee must vote on a proposal to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.5 trillion by next Wednesday, Nov. 23. Both chambers of Congress must then take up the super committee proposal for an up-or-down vote by Dec. 23, or the necessary cuts will be taken from across the federal budget through an automatic process known as sequestration.
The 12-person panel, which includes two Members from each party in each chamber, will reportedly meet for a public mark-up next week, though details of when and where remain uncertain. The super committee has yet to release a public proposal; it is also unclear if a proposal that would achieve the necessary cuts has been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for scoring.
Leadership from the Agriculture Committees told the super committee last month that cuts to their jurisdictional programs should be no more than $23 billion.
They and other key ag leaders have been working to create a proposal that will reauthorize at least Title I of the 2008 farm bill – the farm safety net provisions – as part of the super committee process. This is necessary in part because the majority of the cuts will come from that title, making the current programs effectively non-functional.
NAWG grower-leaders and staff, along with other major agriculture groups and other interest groups, have been working with Members as they attempt to craft a workable safety net with dramatically less funds than before the 2008 farm bill.