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CBO Farm Bill Estimate

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of farm bill program spending over the next ten years. The Hagstrom Report, a by-subscription news service, caught up with Jim Miller, a top aide to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who said the rising cost of crop insurance – $11 billion over ten years  –was due to “both to the value of crops and timing shifts stemming from decisions made in the 2008 farm bill.”

EWG believes lawmakers should take a hard look at the cost of premium subsidies. The baseline projections make it clear that there is plenty of room for savings while still maintaining a viable safety net for farmers. With the savings, Congress could help protect water and soil by restoring conservation program cuts of $4 billion and also fully fund the Local Farms, Food and Jobs bill introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Recent polls show that 78 percent of Americans say making healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the farm bill, while 49 percent identified subsidies for crop insurance premiums as the best place to cut.


Table Scraps:

-          Carolyn Lochhead reported in The San Francisco Chronicle that Mitt Romney has assembled his agriculture team. She writes that it “has a decided tilt toward California’s fruit and vegetable industry” and “The Romney policy board is a decidedly non-corn bunch.”

-          Brownfield Ag’s Steve Kopperud asks if any of the presidential candidates “Have ever met a farmer?”

-          Delta Farm Press’s David Bennett took a look at dissension among state Farm Bureau members over how much taxpayers should be asked to invest in new subsidized crop insurance programs.

-          Here’s a good pro-industry-motivated article on the economic loss associated with soil erosion.

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