As part of a potential strategy to renew the Conservation Reserve
Program in next year's farm bill, USDA Agriculture Secretary Mike
Espy agreed to extend some farmers' contracts for another year.
Farm-state lawmakers reportedly urged Espy to grant the extension
so that farmers with expiring contracts on highly-erodible land
would not be forced out the program prior to 1995 farm bill.
Farm and environmental groups are pushing for long-term CRP
extension in next year's farm bill. The National Farmers Union, for
example, united with 18 other farm groups to lobby Washington last
week for CRP preservation. "We united to ask USDA to take
immediate steps so that we might have budget flexibility to work
together on long-term reauthorization of the CRP in the 1995 farm
bill," said NFU President Leland Swenson.
The Congressional Budget Office is not expected to include money for
the program in its future budget projections without USDA support.
Sources: Julie Copeland, "CRP Granted Reprieve," AGWEEK, August 29,
1994; Michelle Groenke, Midwest Farming Today, UPI, August 26,
1994; Bob Kieckhefer, "NFU Says CRP is OK," Farming Today, UPI,
August 31, 1994.
Midwestern Governors Outline Farm Bill Goals
Governors and other officials from 13 states approved the following
farm bill policy objectives during a two-day meeting in Lincoln,
Nebraska last month:
- continue the Conservation Reserve Program;
- increase funding for programs that promote U.S. agricultural
products nationally and internationally;
- develop a stable farm credit system;
- launch a national rural development policy; and
- consider the financial benefits of continuing the current system of
agricultural price supports.
"We hope this shows Congress that we are devoted to the cause of
American farmers," said Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson of the
objectives. "Agriculture is the foundation of a sustained and
prosperous national economy."
Nelson said that the governors would closely monitor the farm bill as
it moves through Congress and would continue to take part in the
Source: David Hendee, "Summit Nets Goals Aimed at Farm Bill,"
OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, August 23/24, 1994.
Farm Bill Timeline Becoming Clear
The USDA is expected to announce farm bill plans sometime soon,
according to the KIPLINGER LETTER. "But don't expect much
substance," warns KIPLINGER, "... first round will simply outline the
Department's priorities, goals for law." Agriculture Secretary Mike
Espy is reportedly hoping to gain a consensus on USDA goals before
Congress begins crafting its own bill. Congressional committees
begin work this winter on the new farm bill.
Sources: THE KIPLINGER LETTER, September 2, 1994; David Hendee,
"Midwest Governors Draft Proposals for Farm Bill," OMAHA WORLD-
HERALD, August 23, 1994.
Congress, Administration Will Have Hard Time Creating Farmer-
Both Congress and the administration are expected to have a difficult
time fostering a farmer-friendly bill next year.
Although the Clinton Administration began preparing for the 1995
farm bill last May by setting up a task force to hold public hearings,
Chairmperson of the House Agriculture Committee Kika De la Garza
says the administration staff people in charge of formulating next
year's farm bill "appear to be out of the loop." De la Garza also
criticized the administration, as well as the past three
administrations, for failing to be "farmer friendly."
Congress has its own worries, however. The Clinton administration,
farm groups, and lawmakers themselves, agree that the relatively
new and suburban make-up of Congress will make it difficult to pass
a farm bill that addresses farmers' concerns.
Only 50 out of 435 members of the House come from districts that
generate 10 percent or more of their income from agriculture. More
than a third of those members have never voted on a farm bill, and
with elections this November there could be more newcomers. Even
on the House Agriculture Committee, three-fifths of the members
arrived after the 1990 farm bill.
As a result, Washington observers predict the bill will generate
greater interest in consumer and environmental issues than those
concerning farmers' needs.
Sources: "Espy Promises New Farm Bill Will Boost Farm Economy,"
Farming Today, UPI, August 23, 1994; "House Ag Committee
Chairman Gives Farm Bill Timetable," PR NEWSWIRE, August 25,
1994; Robert Greene, "Next Farm Bill Comes to Inexperienced,
Suburban Congress," AP, August 27, 1994; "A Clinton Farm Bill,"
WASHINGTON POST, August 30, 1994.
North Dakota Takes Lead in Developing Rural Renewal Proposal
Several rural development programs which have been successful in
North Dakota could become models for a national, federally-funded
rural development policy, according to North Dakota Commissioner of
Agriculture Sarah Vogel.
Vogel meets with other Agriculture Commissioners from around the
nation in New Orleans September 10 to discuss, among other issues,
expanding rural development programs similar to North Dakota's at
a national level under the farm bill.
North Dakota , makes almost $1 million available each year to
farmers and agriculture groups to fund feasibility studies and
market research, as well as legal fees and start-up costs associated
with the establishment of new crop or livestock-based businesses.
Vogel said during a recent telephone interview, that she would like
to see this kind of funding available to groups nationwide in the form
of federal bloc grants to each state.
Karl Limvere, vice president of the North Dakota Farmers Union,
praised the state's rural development programs, saying they have
"encouraged innovation and provided the basic tools neccesary to
begin a cooperative."
Limvere criticized conventional rural development efforts, saying,
"too often, rural development today means bringing in minimum
wage jobs. We need a comprehensive rural development program
that provides access to capital and technical support, while building
on existing resources."
The Clinton Administration has scheduled a rural summit in Iowa
December 1 to discuss rural development under the 1995 farm bill.
Sources: "National Farmers Union Praises Decision to Hold Rural
Summit," NFU NEWS RELEASE, July 28, 1994; Telephone interviews
with: Sarah Vogel, North Dakota Agriculture Department, August,
15,1994; Karl Limvere, North Dakota Farmers Union, August 16,
ADM Chief Warns of Free Trade Implications for Farm Bill
Dwayne O. Andreas, chairman of the board and chief executive
officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), recently warned
sugar producers and processors that free trade will put an end to
conventional farm programs.
"Make no mistake about it," Andreas said, "We're going to hear that
our farm programs cost too much. We're going to hear fairy tales
about ending our farm programs so the Europeans will end theirs.
And we're going to hear a lot about how farm programs undermine
free trade." Andreas told participants at the International Sweetner
symposium that free trade means "farm programs ... are going to be
prime targets for elimination" in the 1995 farm bill.
Andreas joined Don Wallace, vice president of the American Sugar
Cane League, in saying that it will be necessary for all commodity
groups -- wheat, corn, cotton, sugar, peanuts and dairy -- to stick
together to assure a "satisfactory" outcome of the farm bill legislative
Sources: "ADM Chief Cautions Ag Groups About Upcoming Farm Bill,"
PR NEWSWIRE, August 22, 1994; "Sweetner Representatives Make
Farm Bill Predictions," PR NEWSWIRE, August 24, 1994; "Andreas
Urges Coalitions to Unite on Behalf of '95 Farm Bill," MILLING &
BAKING NEWS, August 30, 1994.
EPA Role in Farm Bill Challenged
Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey says the Environmental Protection
Agency should not be allowed to take a leading role in crafting the
1995 farm bill. Kerrey says environmental measures will most likely
be included as major provisions in the bill, but he stressed that it is
vital that the USDA maintain its role as the lead agency in
formulating farm policy.
Minnesota Farmers Union President David Frederickson met with
EPA Administrator Carol Browner in Washington last month along
with 13 other farmers to discuss agricultural policy. The EPA
arranged the discussion forum to establish a working dialogue with
the agriculture community. During the forum, participants focused
on the impacts of pesticide reform legislation, reauthorization of the
Clean Water Act and other environmentally related measures of the
1995 farm bill.
Sources: Aaron Baar, "Farm News," Midwest Farming Today, UPI,
August 15, 1994; Don Peterson, Midwest Farming Today, UPI, August
AFBF Says Farm Bill Goal Hasn't Changed
American Farm Bureau Federation President Dean Kleckner told the
Midwestern Governors Conference in Nebraska last week that
improved and stable net farm income should be the focus of next
year's farm bill. Kleckner said the AFBF has been pursuing this goal
for the past 78 years when his organization first formed.
Source: Midwest Farming Today, UPI, August 31, 1994.
Crop Insurance Bill Passes Senate
The U.S. Senate passed a crop insurance reform bill last week that
will make insurance purchases mandatory for farmers who enroll in
crop subsidy programs. Under the bill, farmers who grow crops that
aren't eligible for program payments would be covered in times of
natural disasters under a standing disaster assistance program.
The bill includes an amendment by Senator Bob Dole (R-Kansas) to
assure funding for winter wheat growers should Congress fail to
complete work on the reform bill this month. Winter wheat farmers,
who will soon seed their fields, were concerned that they would be
unable to get crop insurance because of uncertainty over changes in
The Senate bill must now be reconciled with a House version of the
crop insurance reform passed earlier this year.
Sources: "Crop Insurance," AP, August 26, 1994; "U.S. Senate Passes
Mandatory Crop Insurance Bill," REUTER, August 26, 1994.
"Wheat Support: The Impact of Target Prices Versus Export
Subsidies," U.S. General Accounting Office, June, 1994. P.O. Box 6015,
Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015. (202) 512-6000. Fax: (301) 258-
4066. First copy free.
"According to our econometric analysis, producers' income from
wheat production would increase 21 percent more with higher target
prices than with equivalent funding from higher EEP subsidies" --
GAO Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division.
Marty Strange, "Rural Economic Development and Sustainable
Agriculture," 1991. 22 pages. Center for Rural Affairs, P.O. Box 406,
Wathill, NE 68067. $3.00.
The National Association of Wheat Growers will host a 1995 farm bill
strategizing conference October 26-28 in Whitefish, Montana.
$500.00. Contact NAWG to register: NAWG Policy Conference, Suite
300, 415, Second Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20005-4993. If you
are unable to attend the conference, NAWG will accept policy papers,
options, opinions or program ideas for consideration at the
conference. Comments must be mailed by September 15.
Produced by Gigi DiGiacomo, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy, 1313 5th Street SE, Suite 303, Minneapolis, MN 55414-1546.
(612) 379-5980. Fax: (612) 379-5982. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The
Institute publishes news bulletins on a wide range of environment,
trade, agriculture and biotechnology issues. A copy of any
publication citing material from this bulletin is appreciated.