Prior to a May 14 mark-up of a new farm bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee released a draft of the legislation. (Read the draft at http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill.)

Included in the draft are target prices for rice ($13.30 per hundredweight) and peanuts ($523.77 per ton) and the Agricultural Risk Coverage program favored by corn producers.

Among reactions:

National Association of Wheat Growers

“We commend the committee for producing a bill that will provide wheat farmers with a strong safety net through Title I programs and crop insurance and that addresses important provisions with regards to conservation, research, food aid, marketing and nutrition,” said NAWG president Bing Von Bergen, a wheat farmer from Moccasin, Mont.

“The bill would also reduce our country’s deficit by roughly $23 billion over 10 years while supporting millions of jobs throughout the economy.

“NAWG believes it is vital for wheat farmers and our economy to finish a long-term farm bill this year, before the existing farm bill extension expires. We look forward to working with committee members as they prepare for their mark-up next week and urge quick consideration of the (agriculture) committee’s product on the Senate floor.”

American Soybean Association

“Importantly, the draft released by the committee would protect and strengthen crop insurance as well as ensure that a target price program to protect growers from low prices remains decoupled from current planting decisions, thus avoiding the possibility of production distortions,” said ASA president and Canton, Miss., soybean farmer Danny Murphy.

“Combined with a revenue protection program similar to that included in last year’s Senate bill, the proposed legislation takes significant steps to provide farmers with effective risk management programs while protecting planting flexibility and avoiding planting distortions.

“While ASA is still studying details of the 1,102-page bill, our initial review also notes that the draft reflects other ASA priorities including reauthorization and funding of the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program and Market Access Program, funding for conservation programs applied to working lands, reauthorization and funding for important bio-based and bioenergy programs, and support for agricultural research, to name just a few.”

National Farmers Union

“We are pleased to see that target price protection was added to the bill,” said NFU president Roger Johnson. “However, in order to be substantial, target prices need to be increased and balanced in a meaningful way. We urge the inclusion of stronger protection against long-term price collapse for all commodities in all regions. It is also promising that some important programs left out of the one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill, like the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, have been reauthorized and funded.

“Crop insurance remains a strong part of the safety net to help producers survive difficult times. In the bipartisan, collaborative style typical of the agriculture community, a compromise was reached to link conservation compliance requirements to crop insurance, which was strongly supported across the industry.

“We are encouraged that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) remains virtually unchanged from last year’s bill in both program and funding. It is crucial that we continue to provide a safety net to those who are food insecure in our own country.