Farm Bill Prospects Grow With Mooovement on Dairy Program

A cow stands in a field by a factory of EL Fouladh, the Tunisian Steel Manufacturing Company which belches smokes as it produces steel billets in Menzel Bourguiba on April 8, 2011.
National Journal
Mike Magner
Jan. 16, 2014, 10:53 a.m.

Ne­go­ti­ati­ors are work­ing out a com­prom­ise on the dairy pro­gram — the biggest bar­ri­er to ac­tion on the farm bill — and a res­ol­u­tion could clear the way for Con­gress to pass the long-delayed le­gis­la­tion right after next week’s re­cess, ac­cord­ing to The Hag­strom Re­port, a lead­ing ag­ri­cul­tur­al news­let­ter.

House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Col­lin Peterson, D-Minn., told The Hag­strom Re­port he be­lieves a dairy pro­gram that he can ac­cept is al­most done, and that it will pave the way for House lead­er­ship to bring the farm bill to the floor the week of Jan. 27 and be fin­ished be­fore the House ad­journs two days later for the Re­pub­lic­an re­treat.

Since Pres­id­ent Obama is sched­uled to de­liv­er the State of the Uni­on on the even­ing of Jan. 28, that likely means the vote would be on the morn­ing of Jan. 29.

Peterson stressed he has not ac­cep­ted any deal yet. “While the pro­posed concept at least ap­pears to move in the right dir­ec­tion and may be something I could re­luct­antly sup­port, without fur­ther de­tails a lot still needs to be worked out,” he told The Re­port.

House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­man Frank Lu­cas, R-Okla., has not yet made a state­ment on the bill’s status, but a spokes­man for House Speak­er John Boehner — who had said the bill would not come up if it in­cluded a “So­viet-style” sup­ply man­age­ment pro­gram — told The Hag­strom Re­port that Boehner “is hope­ful we have a way to move for­ward.”

Peterson said that the oth­er big re­main­ing farm-bill is­sues — rules on pay­ment lim­its and the defin­i­tion of “act­ively en­gaged” farm­ers — are “be­ing worked on,” but that he is not in­volved in those ne­go­ti­ations.

Peterson has not seen the dairy lan­guage, but said he has had “verbal com­mu­nic­a­tion” de­scrib­ing it.

“It’s not the worst thing in the world,” he said. “It’s not what I wanted. I won’t be happy, but I won’t hold the bill up over it.”

He said both Lu­cas and Sen­ate Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., had “aban­doned” him in his quest to keep in the bill what dairy farm­ers call mar­ket sta­bil­iz­a­tion and what dairy pro­cessors call sup­ply man­age­ment, and that Ag­ri­cul­ture Sec­ret­ary Tom Vil­sack has also be­come “in­volved” in the pro­cess.

Un­der the pro­pos­al, Peterson said, the mar­gin in­sur­ance that is already in the House and Sen­ate bills would re­main ex­actly as is, but if the mar­gin between price and cost of pro­duc­tion be­comes too tight, dairy pro­du­cers would get a sig­nal not to in­crease pro­duc­tion.

That sig­nal would be either through elim­in­a­tion or re­duc­tion of pay­ments or through an in­crease in the premi­um for the mar­gin in­sur­ance, but that de­cision has not been fi­nal­ized, Peterson said. The mar­ket sta­bil­iz­a­tion/sup­ply man­age­ment pro­vi­sion would not be in the bill, he noted.

There would not be price sup­ports or an ex­ten­sion of the Milk In­come Loss Con­tract Pro­gram in the bill, he said, but there may be an in­crease in the gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to buy milk.

Peterson said he does not know wheth­er the 41 farm-bill con­fer­ees will hold a pub­lic meet­ing, and noted that it is not leg­ally ne­ces­sary be­cause there has been one pub­lic meet­ing.

Asked what will hap­pen to oth­er pro­pos­als — re­peal­ing coun­try-of-ori­gin la­beling for red meat; re­peal­ing the law that moves cat­fish in­spec­tion from the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion to USDA; re­peal­ing USDA’s abil­ity to make cer­tain changes to the Pack­ers and Stock­yards Act; and the amend­ment sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to for­bid states from ban­ning food sales based on pro­duc­tion meth­ods in oth­er states — Peterson shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

Peterson said when he met with Boehner, he told the speak­er: “You and I are both get­ting screwed.” Asked by The Hag­strom Re­port by who or what, Peterson said, “By the pro­cess.”

What We're Following See More »
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
14 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
JOINS BUSHES, MCCAIN
Romney to Skip Convention
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

An aide to Mitt Romney confirmed to the Washington Post that the 2102 GOP nominee will not attend the Republican convention this year. He joins the two living Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as 2008 nominee John McCain in skipping the event. Even among living Republican nominees, that leaves only Bob Dole who could conceivably show up. Dole did say in January that he'd prefer Trump to Ted Cruz, but his age (92) could keep him from attending.

Source:
#NEVERTRUMP
Sen. Sasse Calls for a Third Candidate
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Ben Sasse, the most prominent elected official to declare that he's #NeverTrump, wrote an open letter on Facebook to the "majority of Americans who wonder why the nation that put a man on the moon can’t find a healthy leader who can take us forward together." Calling to mind recent conversations at a Fremont, Neb., Walmart, the senator pitted the presumptive general election battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as such a "terrible choice" that there would be an appetite for another candidate to emerge. In a parenthetical aside to reporters, Sasse ruled himself out. "Such a leader should be able to campaign 24/7 for the next six months," he wrote. "Therefore he/she likely can’t be an engaged parent with little kids." Meanwhile, his colleague Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted in a private recording obtained by Politico that Trump hurts his reelection chances.

Source:
×