Farm groups generally supported the work of the House Agriculture Committee in passing a 2013 Farm Bill Wednesday, highlighting various policy priorities that were achieved and calling for more action on those that were not.
Title IX funding, conservation reforms, rural development provisions, and dairy were among the hot-button issues farm groups addressed in comments following the bill's passage. An amendment from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, regarding product manufacturing and trade also raised eyebrows, as did miscellaneous crop insurance and subsidy reforms.
Commodity groups had mostly positive reviews of the committee's work to get a bill through, though the American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers weren't confident in some commodity and crop insurance programs.
NCGA President Pam Johnson noted that the target-price program "moves U.S. farm policy away from the market-oriented reforms that have made possible a robust rural economy." Johnson's sentiment was shared by Sen. Pat Roberts during the Senate markup Tuesday, indicating to some that the issue may not be over.
ASA President Danny Murphy voiced concern with planting distortions. "We remain concerned with the bill's inclusion of a price-based program under which payments are tied to current plantings, and the potential planting distortions this program could cause if market prices fall," he said.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition also criticized commodity programs, noting that the bill reinvests savings from the elimination of direct payments back into commodity and crop insurance subsidies.
"There is little farm program reform in the Agriculture Reform bill," said Ferd Hoefner, NSAC Policy Director. "Not only does the House Committee bill fail to adopt many of the common sense reforms included in the Senate Committee bill, but it includes provisions to move in exactly the opposite direction, increasing subsidy limits, decreasing competition, weakening conservation, and driving agricultural policy further away from supporting family farms, rural communities, and the environment. We intend to see that these failings get a second review when the bill heads to the House floor."