Commodity Groups Prepare for Senate Ag Committee Hearing

Final Senate hearing on 2012 Farm Bill will hear from wide range of growers and organization leaders.

Published on: Mar 15, 2012

The Senate Ag Committee is holding a hearing on the commodity title and risk management aspects of the farm bill on Thursday. National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Pam Johnson says she has five minutes to present priorities of the nation's corn farmers to the committee.

"Our focus will be on crop insurance as it is the number one priority," Johnson said. "And then give a few talking points about what justifies our position and what some of the problems could be and let them know we want to work together so that we can come up with the best plan possible with the number of dollars that are going to be available to us."

Johnson says Corn Grower delegates are clear in their priorities of the 2012 Farm Bill and that crop insurance needs to be the cornerstone of the farm bill.

American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman says their members want a solid risk management plan in the new legislation. ASA also believes crop insurance is the foundation for risk management and it should stay that way.

"Crop insurance should be funded in the manner that it has been and not face any cuts," Wellman said. "We realize that agriculture must play a role and be part of the deficit reduction and spending cuts. The proposal that we had earlier that the Senate and House worked on for the farm bill recognized $23 billion in cuts and ASA's position is we      support that."

Wellman says the U.S. Senate missed a great opportunity to diversify the nation's energy needs in again denying tax credits for the nation's biodiesel industry. ASA is disappointed the amendment to extend the biodiesel tax credit was defeated this week and will continue efforts to achieve that goal.

"Biodiesel is still a growing industry; last year the industry produce 1.1 billion gallons of biodiesel so it is obvious we can meet the gallon mandate that is in the Renewable Fuels Standard," Wellman said. "We think it is still a good investment, it is still a good program to have the government involved with helping continuing to build an industry that produces a renewable fuel, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, is environmentally friendly, and decreases our dependence on petroleum fuels."

The commodity title hearing marks the Senate Agriculture Committee's final hearing on the new farm bill. Several representatives of commodity groups will testify before the committee in Washington.