Farm Bill Talks Concern NCGA

Rick Tolman says it seems the bill is being put together in secret.

Published on: Nov 17, 2011

National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman says the 2012 Farm Bill is shaping up to be the strangest farm bill in modern ag times.

"Normally it is a long, drawn out process with a lot of input from committees and groups and looking at different ideas and proposals," Tolman said. "This time with the Super Committee it's moved on a real fast track and it is moving on a very compressed timeframe. At first we thought this would be a good thing because we could through, get it done, and get things out of the way. We are a little concerned just because we are not hearing anything."

Neither are the other farm groups and Tolman says it seems the bill is being put together in secret.

"We're not having a lot of opportunity for input, we're hearing a lot of rumors about deals being cut," Tolman said. "A lot of non-farm groups are weighing in with a lot of misinformation, so it's not a good sign right now and our folks who are following this closely are not really happy about what's going on."

The leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees are striving to pull the farm bill together so it can be included as part of the package from the deficit reduction Super Committee. That committee is working with a Nov. 23. If that deadline is missed Tolman notes we move to sequestration.

"In some ways there is beginning to be a case made that maybe that's better than what we're going through right now for the farm bill because there would be more opportunity for input and for vetting things," Tolman said. "I think we all went into this wanting the Super Committee to get their job done, let's get this deficit started and then get on about our life. It would be a shame if we just kicked the can down the road."

Tolman says there are some scenarios under sequestration in which agriculture might surrender less than the $23 billion in cuts offered by the Ag Committee leaders to the Super Committee.