Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sen. Roberts on Farm Bill

As chair of the House Ag committee, then-Rep. Pat Roberts (R-KS) pushed the "Freedom to Farm" component of the 1996 farm bill. It was sold as a transition to a free-market agriculture, with transitional fixed payments replacing the "deficiency payments" that were tied to market price levels. (You can tell from my tone, I wasn't impressed back then.)

The 2002 farm bill kept the "fixed" payments and reinstated "counter-cyclical" payments (albeit changing the basis for payment entirely to historical production).

This is what Sen. Roberts says now:

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I look forward to the upcoming debate over the future of American farm policy. Next year [sic--the good Senator seems to be a bit late in updating his web site], the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (P.L. 107-171) will expire. I voted against the current farm bill when it was approved by Congress in 2002. At the time, I registered my concern that the bill was full of empty promises, would lower assistance to Kansas producers and would not work during times of crop loses and slightly higher prices. Unfortunately, many of my strongest reservations with this legislation have occurred.

No comments: