In advance of renewed congressional efforts to complete a new farm bill in 2012, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is considering alternative farm programs to those established in the 2008 legislation.
ASA supported the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program that was included in a proposal advanced by the chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees as part of the Budget Control Act process that collapsed on Nov. 21.
While final details were not disclosed, the ARC program would reportedly have partially offset revenue losses exceeding 13 percent of recent average commodity-specific revenue at the farm level.
These provisions are very similar to the Risk Management for America’s Farmers (RMAF) proposal developed by ASA’s Farm Bill Task Force and Public Affairs Committee, which was approved by the ASA Board of Directors.
ASA is considering modifications to the RMAF proposal that would make it more broadly acceptable to other program crop producers, as well as looking at other farm program options.
The schedule for farm bill consideration will likely begin with hearings by the Senate Agriculture Committee sometime in late January or early February.
In early March, the Congressional Budget Office will release its budget baseline of estimated costs of agricultural programs over the next 10 years, which Congress will use to determine the cost of program changes.
It is expected that hearings in both the Senate and House Committees will continue through March before each holds legislative mark-up meetings later in the spring. Senate Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has indicated she would like to complete mark-up and hold a conference with Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and the House Committee by June.
As the November elections approach, Congress will need to finish a farm bill, which will include the passage of a conference report in both the House and Senate before the August recess. The alternative would be a one-year extension prior to expiration of authorities under the 2008 farm bill at the end of September.