It's a big year for corn. With the booming ethanol industry driving up demand and prices, 2007 acres climbed to a size not seen in recent history. Corn is almost 30 million acres ahead of the soybeans, the next most planted commodity. And Congress is working on a new farm bill.
Although the Senate bill won't start moving until September, the House could start debating the Agriculture Committee's farm bill as soon as Thursday, and is aiming to vote before the August recess.
The National Corn Growers Association outlines some of the key provisions for corn growers:
- Reducing Adjusted Gross Income limits for commodity and conservation payments from $2.5 million to a three-year average AGI income greater than $1 million a year, with no exceptions. Individuals with a three-year average AGI between $500,000 and $1 million would be ineligible for farm program payments (commodity and conservation) unless 66.66 percent of income is agriculturally related in which case the limit does not apply.
- An increase in the limit on direct payments for each producer from $40,000 to $60,000
- Advanced direct payments would be limited to 22 percent for 2008-2011 crop years. Advanced direct payments are terminated with 2012 crop year.
- Nearly $2.5 billion is designated for programs to advance renewable fuels and on-farm energy technologies.
- $200 million in mandatory funding toward National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which will support competitive grants within USDA.
- A payment limitation of $60,000 for any single program; $125,000 for more than one program
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program: Increase in funding for Conservation Innovation grants with specific allocations for air quality improvement and state incentives to help producers meet air quality regulatory requirements.
- Wetlands Reserve Program: A decrease in maximum enrollment from 3.8 million acres to 3.6 million acres
- Conservation Security Program: Authorization to the secretary of agriculture to make additional considerations when allocating funds to states in order to achieve equitable geographic distribution of funds.
- Grassland Reserve Program: Requirement that the secretary of agriculture enroll an additional 1 million acres during fiscal years 2008-2012.