The American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday sent a letter to Agriculture Committee members commending them for moving forward with its draft 2012 farm bill.

According to AFBF President Bob Stallman, Farm Bureau places high priority on several elements in the House version, but there is room for improvement.

Stallman praised the committee’s decision to stand firm on limiting the reductions in savings to $14 billion in the commodity title and to $6 billion in the conservation title, as well as protecting and strengthening the federal crop insurance program without reducing its funding.

But, said Stallman, “While the draft legislation addresses many of Farm Bureau’s policy priorities, it is our hope there will be additional opportunities to make adjustments and refinements to improve this legislation.”

Some of the areas Farm Bureau believes would benefit from additional work include:

• Improving equity across all commodities. The variety of program options continues to raise concerns that some programs will cause planting decisions to be based on farm program benefits that accrue more beneficially to a particular crop;

• Addressing the net effect of the Revenue Loss Coverage (RLC) Eligible Acres provisions to ensure a true “planted acres” approach and avoid recreating “base acres” issues that raise equity and planting distortion concerns;

• Re-instituting the payment limitations and Adjusted Gross Income provisions of current law; and

• Making payments from the RLC program in a timely manner, rather than one year after the loss, and simplifying the base acre calculation requirements.

“Fundamentally, Farm Bureau continues to support a single program option for the commodity title that extends to all crops,” continued Stallman. 

“We believe the safety net should be comprised of a strong crop insurance program, with continuation of the marketing loan program and a catastrophic revenue loss program based on county level losses for each crop.”

Stallman also urged continuation of the following: maintaining the current marketing loan program; rejecting any provision linking conservation compliance with crop insurance; mandating that the Risk Management Agency develop a revenue insurance program that meets the needs of peanut producers by 2013; eliminating the dairy price support program and the Milk Income Loss Contract program, using the funds associated with those programs to offer a voluntary gross margin insurance program for dairy producers; and maintaining the current sugar program.

Letter to U.S. House Committee on Agriculture