The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday kicked off mark-up on their version of the 2013 Farm Bill, leaving the bill largely intact through 10 hours of debate.
Chairman Frank Lucas began the session at 10 a.m. Eastern, and was able to move through the first four titles and some of the fifth before adjourning briefly at 3 p.m. The Committee returned at 6:30 p.m. Eastern to resume debate, which continued until 11:45 p.m.
Though many amendments were either withdrawn or voted down, several garnered more than fifteen minutes of discussion each. Hot topics, as expected, were dairy policy reforms, restoring cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, catfish inspection and interstate commerce.
Wild cards included late-night discussion regarding ability of organic products to have a checkoff program and labeling and quality standards of imported olive oil.
Under the commodity title, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., proposed to eliminate the Dairy Market Stabilization component from the Dairy Security Act in the Farm Bill.
Dairy processing organizations have led the charge behind eliminating the DMSP and retaining standalone margin insurance for dairy farmers, though the National Milk Producers Association stands counter to that proposal.
Representatives spoke on Goodlatte's amendment for nearly an hour, with some concerned that the DMSP program would stifle exports and eliminate growth in the dairy sector. Despite the arguments, Goodlatte's amendment failed 20-26 via roll call vote.
Also in the commodity title, Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, proposed an amendment to eliminate target prices, which was withdrawn in favor of floor discussion.