Hope Hangs On By a Thread as Farm Bill Negotiators to Meet WednesdayTue, 03 Dec 2013 03:57:40 CST
Washington ag policy watchers will be staking out the meeting room on Wednesday of key farm bill negotiators as at least the "big four" farm bill conferees will meet face to face to assess where the discussions are- and to consider the options in pulling together a Commodity Title that will allow final decisions to be made on several other issues that perhaps will line up if the Commodity Title is resolved.
While the Senate is not in session this week, Senators Stabenow and Cochran will be returning to Washington to meet with their counterparts in the House- House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas and his ranking member Collin Peterson. Stabenow was quoted by the Washington Post as saying that outstanding issues yet to be finalised include not just the Commoity Title and the Nutrition Title- but also Dairy, Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance.
The hope remains that a farm bill deal can still be achieved by next week- opening the door to votes in the House and Senate before 2013 ends.
One former member of the House Ag Committee turned Senator- John Thune of South Dakota- has written his colleagues that make up the Farm Bill Conference Committee and urged them to reject any idea of a Farm Law Extension- and simply do their work to get a farm bill done. Thune told fellow lawmakers "an unfinished Farm Bill will continue the highly uncertain future for agriculture producers, ag- related businesses, consumers, rural economies, and the stewardship of our land and water brought about by last year's one - year extension. Failure to conference the Farm Bills passed by the full House and Senate by late this year or early next year simply cannot be an option forconsideration by Farm Bill conferees. In addition to providing much-needed certainty, completion of the Farm Bill can be expected to provide from $20 to $40 billion in savings, which would reduce our nation ' s deficit over the next several years."
Meanwhile, one favorite program of the Obama Administration, "Know Your Farmer- Know Your Food," has come under fire in the Wall Street Journal- according to FarmPolicy.Com. They report "Meanwhile, in a column in today's Wall Street Journal, Adrienne Rose Johnson noted that, "The Agriculture Department recently awarded more than $5 million in grants to local food projects as part of its larger 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' program. The program encourages Americans to eat locally, in the belief that local foods will stimulate economic development and promote healthy eating habits."
"The column noted that, "Recent studies, however, have found that local foods are often neither better for the environment nor for the poor. Shipping produce from across the world often emits less greenhouse gases than the same local produce grown with more resource-intensive methods.
"Corn grown in vast farms in Iowa and shipped to Alaska will always be more cost-effective and environmentally sound than corn grown in a small greenhouse in Anchorage, for example. According to a 2008 Carnegie Mellon University study, more than 80% of emissions occur before food even leaves the farm. Contrary to the 'food miles' perspective, the study found that transportation contributes little to overall environmental impact."
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