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House Ag Bill Begins Journey

By View from the Hill National Grange Legislative Update (6/9/11)

  JUNE 15, 2011 --

Last week the House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture approved a version of the FY2012 funding bill that will cut 13 percent more than the reduced FY2011 allocation, which was passed in the stop gap measure this April.

Major changes made in the measure included dropping the cap for farm subsidy eligibility from $750,000 adjusted gross income or AGI to $250,000. Although the USDA approximated the number of those participants affected by the change at around 30,000, larger farms and production operations should be concerned.

The USDA's research budget is set to be cut by almost 14 percent, eliminating programs like the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. The subcommittee also failed to increase funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which has been under the gun to act on commodity hedge and swap activity now prohibited under the Dodd-Frank Act. Although the CFTC has gained more and more responsibility, the agency has been choked of funding as a way to delay their implementation of some of the more contentious Dodd-Frank regulations.

Both the National Grange supported Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP) were funded at authorized levels. These programs provide cost-share assistance to supplement farmer investment in growing overseas markets for American products.

In other news, the Senate rejected procedural votes on both the House-passed FY2012 budget, as well as the Obama Administration's FY2012 budget proposal this week and has yet to draft a proposal of their own. The Senate Agriculture Committee did hold its first field hearing at Michigan State University, to discuss components of the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill. Chairwoman Stabenow led the hearing with Ranking Member Pat Roberts which had a panel of 15 testifying.


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