crop subsidies

Higher reference prices come with a cost

Since early this year, farm groups worried about rising production costs have called for higher reference prices, which are used in calculating crop subsidies, to be written into the 2023 farm bill. Congress is months away from drafting the farm bill, so there has been little discussion of the budgetary impact. But it could be significant, according to university economists who looked at a related concept: The reference-price escalator that was included in the 2018 farm law.

Lawmakers mull margin protection, permanent disaster program for crops

Concerned by rising production costs and the longevity of sky-high commodity prices, farm-state lawmakers floated margin protection for crop growers and standby farm disaster programs on Thursday for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill. However, farm bill funding may be tight, which could limit Congress’ ability to add new features to the farm program.

Hefty subsidy needed for adoption of cover crops

Only 5 percent of U.S. cropland is planted to cover crops amid debate over their financial benefits to farmers. Congress may need to offer a "sizable" subsidy to growers if it wants large-scale adoption of the farming practice, said two university economists.

Danger signs for 2023 farm bill in partisan rancor on Capitol Hill

Congress traditionally enacts the farm policy bills covering the gamut from crop subsidies to food stamps at the urging of a coalition of farm, conservation and anti-hunger groups. A former USDA official said the 2023 farm bill could be in peril if there is a repetition of the political turbulence that temporarily derailed the omnibus legislation twice in the eight years.

Ag coalition proposes climate mitigation for $100 an acre

At the same time farm-state lawmakers are trying to add $2 billion to $3 billion a year to USDA conservation programs, a coalition of farmers and ag groups says the price tag for climate mitigation on the farm should be much higher —$100 per acre or $40 billion a year when fully implemented. No paywall

Biden nominates USDA climate adviser to oversee farm supports

Robert Bonnie, named USDA climate adviser on the same day President Biden took office, will soon be in charge of all farm support programs, from land stewardship to farm subsidies and crop insurance, if confirmed by the Senate. Biden nominated Bonnie for undersecretary for farm production and conservation, arguably the highest-profile sub-cabinet post at USDA, on Friday.

As ag embraces climate mitigation, trade may benefit — researchers

The Biden administration's plan to enlist American agriculture in mitigating climate change through cover crops and carbon trading could pay dividends in another field entirely — negotiations for freer agriculture trade, said an American Enterprise Institute paper on Tuesday. The United States would be in a stronger bargaining position if it shifted some of its farm subsidies into .s.o-called green box programs that are deemed not to distort international trade, said the paper written by three farm policy experts.

Farm management rule is a step toward equity, say reformers

Although the USDA adopted a stricter rule on who qualifies for crop subsidies, farm-program reformers said on Monday there was more work to do. The new rule, which applies to people who say they deserve a payment because they help manage a farm,  should be applied across the board to all USDA programs and it needs to have teeth, they said.

USDA tightens eligibility rules for farm subsidies

Loopholes remain, but the USDA is tightening its crop subsidy rules by limiting who can collect a payment for managing a farm, historically one of its most porous definitions. The new regulation, to be published on Monday, requires people to perform at least 500 hours of management or at least 25 percent of the management work required annually to merit a subsidy check — "a very major advancement," according to a small-farm advocate.

Multibillion-dollar corn and soy payments possible due to coronavirus

Low market prices on this year's corn and soybean crops due to the coronavirus could trigger up to $7.2 billion in USDA subsidies to corn and soybean growers, said five university economists on Wednesday. "In estimating the damage that U.S. crop agriculture has suffered, it is important to take into account the payments made by existing farm safety net programs," they said. (No paywall)

Trump tariff payments went to big farm operators

When the Trump administration poured billions of dollars into rural America to mitigate the impact of trade war, "most of it bypassed the country's traditional small and medium-sized farms that were battered by the loss of their export market," said the CBS News program 60 Minutes on Sunday. It's just as likely big farmers will benefit in a big way when the USDA disburses $16 billion in coronavirus-relief cash to farmers and ranchers, said the program.

USDA payments on corn and wheat more likely with PLC

After looking at the latest USDA price projections for corn, wheat, and soybeans, and taking into account price patterns for the crops, five university economists say the Price Loss Coverage subsidy is a better choice for growers than the Agricultural Risk Coverage subsidy for corn and wheat grown this year.

Additional week to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage subsidy

More than 21,200 farmers have enrolled in the new dairy support program created by the 2018 farm bill, said Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey on Thursday, announcing a one-week extension of the signup period.

USDA gives growers the chance to switch crop subsidy programs

For the first time since the 2014 farm bill was implemented, the USDA is giving farmers the option of changing enrollment between the insurance-like Agriculture Risk Coverage and the traditionally designed Price Loss Coverage subsidies.

‘Big pile of money’ for farmers could backfire in Congress

The Trump administration enabled multimillion-dollar payments to some large operators in this year’s round of trade war payments by obliterating the usual limits on farm subsidies, said the president of the National Farmers Union on Thursday.

Former Ag chairman Conaway, farm subsidy defender and SNAP skeptic, will retire

Staunch conservative Michael Conaway, an eight-term Republican from west Texas and the most divisive House Agriculture chairman in decades, said on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of 2020.

World lacks drive to reform agricultural supports

More than $500 billion is spent annually around the world on "often ineffective and trade-distorting support to farmers," says the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In an annual report, the OECD said, "little progress has been seen this decade in reforming agricultural support policies."

Difficult choices when crop insurance, disaster aid and Trump’s bailout intersect

The farm safety net offers many strands of support to farmers swamped by a historically slow planting season, but the strands pull in different directions, says associate professor Bradley Lubben, of the University of Nebraska. "The complexity for producer decision-making is compounded," he said, when potential Trump tariff payments and disaster aid are woven into traditional crop subsidies and crop insurance.

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