House Framework Rejected by Agriculture Groups

Organizations are not happy with framework proposal.

Published on: Feb 14, 2008

Several groups have voiced opposition to the proposed framework for the Farm Bill the House of Representative released Wednesday. The framework rolled out by House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and ranking member Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is simply a starting point for negotiations of details of the Farm Bill, but with a set price tag of $6 billion above the baseline.

"This plan reflects a failed effort to negotiate an acceptable farm bill directly with the Administration, and its enactment would be far worse than an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill," says American Soybean Association President John Hoffman. "It reverses the limited progress ASA achieved in the House bill to provide more equitable income support to soybean producers, and sufficient funding to make U.S. biodiesel producers competitive with imported biodiesel."

According to Peterson a conversation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday morning lead to the agreement that an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill would not be attempted if a new bill is not passed by its expiration on March 15. In that situation U.S. farm policy would revert to the 1949 permanent law until a new farm bill is written.

The National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau and several others deplored the proposal, saying that it did not provide adequate funding for farm programs.

"Do I want more," Peterson says. "Sure. A lot of my constituents want more. These groups are not helping the process. I know they're not happy, but if people want to get greedy, what they're going to accomplish is make sure they don't get anything but permanent law."

During a briefing of the media Wednesday, Peterson pointed out that this proposal was just to show that a bill could be written with funding just $6 billion over baseline. He said as far as offsets and specific details of what was included in the bill, he considers those issues still on the table for negotiation.