Policy Plate: Congress Should Reject Cynical Farm Bill Extension
In an AgMag post today, Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber urges the full House to reject a cynical one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill because it cuts vital conservation programs and extends wasteful direct payments.
The one-year extension of the farm bill likely to come up on the House floor this week would perpetuate funding for the worst aspects of American farm policy and would cut funding for the best.
The extension bill produced by House Agriculture Committee leaders would slash conservation programs by more than $750 million.
Although these programs account for less than one-third of all farm spending and flow to all farmers in all regions of the country, they will “offset” the cost of an extension of the current farm bill and drought assistance.
Among the worthwhile efforts slated for sharp reductions: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Security Program.
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Farm policy reform leaders Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) have organized letters urging House leaders to reject efforts to bypass House consideration of a farm bill. Click here and here to read the letters.
In a separate letter, a diverse coalition of groups contend such a gambit would, “make a mockery of [Speaker Boehner’s] laudable commitment to have full and open debate on legislation.”
Politico’s David Rogers reports that the divisive extension lacks support. “Republicans have hinted they may yet pull back the extension,” he writes, “and focus instead on the immediate needs of drought-stricken livestock producers.”
A Providence Journal editorial cites EWG and Iowa State University professor Bruce Babcock explaining how farmers may do better than they would have without the drought because of generous crop insurance payouts and higher crop prices.
Michael J. Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, pens a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack detailing why Meatless Monday is good for agriculture and public health.
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@EscapeFire House of reps voting on a controversial Farm Bill. Top chefs &policymakers urge lawmakers to vote NO. Your thoughts? http://www.ewg.org/release/nation-s-top-chefs-food-and-nutrition-experts...
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