Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Minor Farm Bill Reforms Approved

The House Ag Committee made a tiny step forward in the effort to get a farm bill together today:

As the House Agriculture Committee decides how to divide up a $280 billion farm bill pie over the next five years, members nibbled at the crust Wednesday, by approving payment reforms that will end the three-entity rule and also eliminating the smallest checks sent to landowners.

Payment limit reforms didn't go far enough in the eyes of some members.

"I'm feeling a little bad that it didn't go further," said Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).

Peterson said the reforms will save an estimated $226.5 million over five years and $522 million over 10 years.

The committee also approved an amendment by Representative K. Micheal Conaway (R-TX) to eliminate USDA payments to landowners that are less than $25. It costs USDA $15 to make the payments.

It was opposed by Representative Bob Etheridge (D-NC), who heads the commodities subcommittee.