House releases its farm bill draft

Published on: May 10, 2013

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) officially released its farm bill mark Friday afternoon, which will be the starting point for debate May 15 in the Committee.

The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 (view a summary of the bill) includes more ambitious savings with a total of $38 billion compared to the Senate's $23 billion, with $20 billion coming from food assistance and $18 billion from the other titles.

FARRM streamlines and reforms commodity policy saving nearly $14 billion while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk, the summary explained.

One of the biggest differences is the target price differences in the two bills.

The Senate bill replaces the counter-cyclical program with target prices for covered commodities the same as the counter-cyclical prices are now, except for rice and peanuts.

National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson welcomed the inclusion of target prices, however, said, "in order to be substantial, target prices need to be increased and balanced in a meaningful way. We urge the inclusion of stronger protection against long-term price collapse for all commodities in all regions."

The House offers much more favorable target prices than the Senate, which could alter participation in the program.

Senate target prices

House target prices

Barley, $2.63 per bushel

Barley, $4.95 per bushel

Corn, $2.63 per bushel

Corn, $3.70 per bushel

Grain sorghum, $2.63 per bushel

Grain sorghum, $3.95 per bushel

Soybeans, $6 per bushel

Soybeans, $8.40 per bushel

Wheat, $4.17 per bushel

Wheat, $5.50 per bushel

Rice, $13.30 cwt

Rice, $14.00 cwt

Peanuts, $523.77 per ton

Peanuts $535.00 per ton

FAARM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than $6 billion, in line with the Senate version.

Both marks have last year's Dairy Security Act which is backed by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and authored by Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. There again will be a debate over whether supply management is needed or desired, as processors and free market thinkers oppose the idea of the government intervening with milk supplies.