The deadline has passed for Congressional committees to make recommendations to the Super Committee charged with finding more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts. A coalition of agricultural groups made their own recommendation to the leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees asking them to suggest a moratorium on discretionary and non-essential regulatory actions that would increase the cost of food and agricultural production and processing.
"Well I don't think there is any question that some of what we call the Title I Farm Bill programs, the price supports, are going to be impacted by this deficit reduction committee," National Council of Farmer Cooperative President and CEO and former U.S. Deputy Ag Secretary Chuck Conner said. "I think most of us are resigned to taking some of those cuts, which has been a motivating factor on the regulations. We're simply saying at a time when you are taking away the safety net that producers have had in some cases for the last 70 years, do not at the same time impose greater regulations, greater costs upon them through these federal actions. Certainly that seems like a fair request."
Since the pending free trade agreements have now been passed, Conner says the Farm Bill will gain more attention with Congress. With all of the proposals that are being discussed, he believes producers should be given the tools they need to get the job done rather than having to fight all the proposed regulations.
"Volatility is going to be the name of the game," Conner said. "During a time that producers are trying react and survive those volatile times they don't need the Environmental Protection Agency running around saying we may have all these new rules and requirements that are going to add to your cost of doing business. We're not going to do that during these kind of times and that’s the message we're trying to send."
Conner is hopeful the bipartisan recommendations of the agriculture leadership will show the rest of Congress that both sides can get along.