The House and Senate Agriculture committees will need to submit ideas to the super committee soon to ensure that those in Congress who best understand agriculture and rural America have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on the process.

Recently the Obama administration proposed even deeper cuts than those already expected of the super committee, to help offset the cost of the president’s American Jobs Act plan.

The president’s proposal would include a $33 billion reduction in agriculture programs. Farm Bureau said it adamantly opposes reductions of that magnitude.

However, using the $33 billion figure as an example, the percentage cuts recommended by AFBF would break down as 15 percent from the $65 billion commodity programs baseline, 16 percent from the $63 billion conservation programs baseline, 1 percent from the $700 billion nutrition programs baseline and 4 percent from the $80 billion crop insurance baseline.

Direct payments have become a target because they are not based on crop production or prices.

However, AFBF said that if it were not for direct payments during droughts over the past few years, “many family-owned and operated farms would be out of business.”

One way to reduce the cost of direct payments, AFBF suggested, is to lower the percentage of the acreage base used to calculate the payments.

AFBF also endorsed new dairy program legislation (H.R. 3062) offered by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), House Agriculture Committee ranking member. The Peterson proposal would eliminate the current dairy price support program and Milk Income Loss Contract payments and replace them with a voluntary gross margin revenue insurance program.

Additional savings could come from consolidating conservation programs, according to AFBF, into a working lands program, a retirement lands program and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), as well as reducing the number of acres eligible for CRP.

“We believe 23 conservation programs are too many,” Farm Bureau said.

Farm Bureau recommended that two-thirds of the cuts in conservation programs come from the retirement lands program, with the remaining third coming from the working lands program.

The National Corn Growers Association farm bill proposal can be found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/grains/corn-growers-introduce-adap-proposal-2012-farm-bill.

The National Cotton Council approach can be found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/grains/corn-growers-introduce-adap-proposal-2012-farm-bill.

The American Soybean Association has also submitted a proposal. It can be found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/soybeans/soybean-growers-announce-farm-bill-proposal.