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What Cuts?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Progressive Farmer editor Chris Clayton reports on the ongoing House Agriculture Committee hearings on the farm bill. After Wednesday’s session on farm subsidy programs, he notes that, “Farm Bill Austerity Not Quite Taking Hold.” An excerpt:

Wednesday's commodity and crop-insurance hearing in the House Agriculture Committee didn't exactly sound like a hearing of people preparing to accept some measure of austerity to cut the federal budget.

It was a microcosm of the inability to bring meaningful cuts to federal programs. We want to help out, but we just can't accept what you are trying to do to us.

Farmers and the groups they represent testified Wednesday there should be no payment caps to producers. Income eligibility ought not be changed, either. Language in the Senate bill on active engagement would bring down the family farm.

The Senate bill sets a $50,000 cap on the Agricultural Risk Coverage program, but maintains no cap on marketing loans. The Senate bill also would lower adjusted gross income eligibility from $900,000 to $750,000 AGI. That's averaged over three years. The Senate also tightens active engagement so that someone can't be on a few phone calls each year and keep collecting payments on the operation.


Table Scraps:

-          Farm payment transparency has suffered under Obama’s USDA, but in the European Union, government secrecy about who receives taxpayer payments is even worse.

-          Native News Network reports on a San Diego based food company that sickened members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota by repackaging old meat.

-          Progressive Farmer senior editor Marcia Zarley Taylor demonstrates how mega farms cultivating 10,000 acres or more easily absorb the costs of new machinery, while smaller farms are hit harder. The largest farms in America also receive the bulk of taxpayer-funded farm subsidies.

-          EWG president Ken Cook reminded a panel at the CropLife America’s 2012 national policy conference that President Reagan fought those who tried to remove conservation requirements from taxpayer-funded farm supports.

-          The Star Tribune reports on toxic pesticides drifting far from where they were applied.

-           Fox News looks at consumers worried about corn ethanol’s impact on their vehicles.

Tweet of the day:

@PaulAtPAN What's going on in the Corn Belt? Hint: #GE seeds and #bees are involved @HuffPostGreen

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