Farm-state Republicans consider raiding climate-change cookie jar
Without exception, Senate and House Republicans voted last summer against the climate, health and tax bill that earmarked $20 billion for USDA’s voluntary land stewardship programs, with a priority on practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase climate resiliency. Now, they are …
CBO: SNAP to cost $121 billion a year
After surging to a record $149 billion last year as part of the federal response to the pandemic, SNAP will cost $121 billion a year in the near term, said the Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday.
Food-system reform is crucial, but controversial, piece of biodiversity deal
At the UN Biodiversity Conference, currently underway in Montreal, delegates from 196 countries are trying to craft a plan to reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. And food production, which is responsible for 70 percent of terrestrial biodiversity loss and half of the loss of freshwater species, is proving to be a key but contentious variable in fulfilling that goal. (No paywall)
Farm bill proposal: Strengthen subsidy limits, boost land stewardship
With its toothless payment limits, the U.S. farm program directs billions of dollars a year to the largest and wealthiest farmers in America while struggling family farmers often are overlooked, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Crop insurance industry to House committee: ‘Stay the course’
Representatives of several lobbying groups testified Wednesday at a House hearing on crop insurance ahead of the 2023 farm bill, describing the program as one of the best tools available to protect farmers from crop losses, regardless of farm size.
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.