The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Ag leaders get farm bill letters on energy title, farm safety net and dairy supply control

Groups urged new energy title in farm bill

A coalition of nearly 50 trade groups and organizations representing energy, farm, environmental and forest interests today asked leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees to include an energy title in any new farm bill, including one that might be written by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the super committee.

“The innovative programs authorized in the energy title of the 2008 Farm Bill … have helped finance thousands of diverse renewable energy projects and improved energy efficiency at farms, ranches and businesses across rural America,” the Ag Energy Coalition wrote in a letter to the committee.

“As longstanding agricultural safety net programs come under increasing budgetary pressure, these energy programs will continue to grow and diversify the rural economy.”

Many of the energy programs in the 2008 farm bill do not have baseline funding after that bill expires, which means that the agriculture committees or the super committee would have to cut other programs in order to extend them.

The Ag Energy Coalition’s members range from the Biotechnology Industry Organization to the National Farmers Union, the Distributed Wind Energy Association and the Advanced Biofuels Association.

Ag Energy Coalition Co-director Lloyd Ritter said in a news release that farm bill energy programs “have the potential to be a game-changer for rural economies across the country, adding many thousands of jobs in the coming years. For these reasons, we are urging Congress to properly fund these programs through the life of the next farm bill.”

Farm Bureau proposes safety net program

The American Farm Bureau Federation said today its board is still opposed to the “shallow loss” revenue protection programs that commodity groups and some members of Congress have proposed as a new farm bill safety net, and has proposed an alternative “systemic risk reduction program.”

Taxpayer groups join IDFA in opposing dairy supply controls

Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers’ Union joined the International Dairy Foods Association today in sending a letter to House and Senate agriculture committee leaders opposing inclusion of the proposed Dairy Market Stabilization Program in a farm bill in conjunction with the super committee's deficit reduction bill. See link.