The House of Representatives could begin debate on the 2007 Farm Bill as early as Thursday. Following last week’s approval by the House Committee on Agriculture, the House set a Tuesday deadline for amendments to the farm bill to be submitted to the House Rules Committee for approval for the floor debate.
“We are pleased with this bill. It is a good one for production agriculture and we support passage by the House of Representatives,” said Ken McCauley, NCGA President.
“We are pleased by Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson’s willingness to work with us,” said Ron Litterer, NCGA first vice president. “He has done good work in steering this bill through the committee process and we appreciate his inclusion of a revenue program in the bill. The proposal differs from the revenue proposal backed by NCGA, however the Chairman’s leadership in moving the revenue approach forward is a real positive and we look forward to working with him on this issue as this legislation moves through the process.”
The committee’s other key provisions and reforms of interest to corn growers include:
- Reducing adjusted gross income (AGI) limits for commodity and conservation payments from $2.5 million to a three-year average AGI income greater than $1 million a year, with no exceptions. Individuals with a three-year average AGI between $500,000 and $1 million would be ineligible for farm program payments (commodity and conservation) unless 66.66% of income is agriculturally related in which case the limit does not apply.
- An increase in the limit on direct payments for each producer from $40,000 to $60,000.
- Advanced direct payments limited to 22% for 2008-2011 crop years. Advanced direct payments are terminated with 2012 crop year.
- Nearly $2.5 billion is designated for programs to advance renewable fuels and on-farm energy technologies.
- $200 million in mandatory funding toward National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which will support competitive grants within USDA.
- A payment limitation of $60,000 for any single program; $125,000 for more than one program
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program: Increase in funding for Conservation Innovation grants with specific allocations for air quality improvement and state incentives to help producers meet air quality regulatory requirements.
- Wetlands Reserve Program: A decrease in maximum enrollment from 3.8 million acres to 3.6 million acres
- Conservation Security Program: Authorization to the secretary of agriculture to make additional considerations when allocating funds to states in order to achieve equitable geographic distribution of funds.
- Grassland Reserve Program: Requirement that the secretary of agriculture enroll an additional 1 million acres during fiscal years 2008-2012.