The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


Commodity, conservation, trade titles closed

Commodity title

After adopting an amendment related to Farm Service Agency county offices proposed by Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., noted that there were no more amendments dealing with the commodity title, and closed it.

The Boswell amendment requires the Agriculture secretary to conduct a workload assessment and provide it to the public before closing a county office. Lucas and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., opposed the amendment, arguing that it would complicate the efforts to trim the Agriculture Department budget, but it passed on a voice vote.

The only discussion about the core commodity program was a proposal by Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, to change a provision in the revenue loss program that requires “all of owners” to agree to a “majority of owners.”

Gibbs said he wanted to avoid one owner stopping a farmer from participating in the program. A USDA legal counsel noted that the amendment did not say whether a “majority of owners” meant the number of owners or a majority interest.

Gibbs withdrew the amendment and Lucas promised to work on the issue as the farm bill develops.

Conservation title

The committee moved on to the conservation title and rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., related to Environmental Quality Incentives Program innovation grants.

Trade title

The House Agriculture Committee also today voted to add an amendment to establish an Agriculture undersecretary for foreign agricultural services.

The amendment was offered by Rep. Tim Rooney, R-Fla., and Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif. The Senate adopted a similar amendment offered by Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

The committee has moved on to the nutrition title.