2012 Farm Bill Issues

After additional examination, Mr. Lehner stated that, “[A]n aphorism closer to home says farm policy only changes when farmers are unhappy and crying for change. The House Ag Committee members who sat through the hearings have heard cries for change, but mostly for more spending, not less: Raise loan rates. Make ACRE county-based. Subsidize fruits and vegetables. “Crop insurance cuts are under discussion, but farm groups oppose them. Payment limitations would be popular with the general public, but Peterson dislikes them, as do many farmers. “Direct payments defy the ‘safety net’ logic underlying farm programs, as they’re paid in good times and bad alike, to absentee landowners in New York as well as those who sow and reap, but many farmers swear by them — and unlike some of our other farm programs, they’re WTO-legal. You could dress them up as compensation for providing public goods like clean air and water, but the chairman doesn’t like that idea, either.