Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Politico on Farm Bill Budget and Politics

Politico has a nice piece on the farm bill.
Within the commodity title itself, about $50.2 billion would be saved by repealing current subsidies, chiefly the cash payments. From these savings, $28.8 billion would be re-invested in a new revenue insurance program that would give farmers added protection against “shallow losses” —not covered now by traditional crop insurance.
The new approach is most popular in the Midwest Corn Belt, and Southern cotton and peanuts have been promised concessions in the process. But there is still Southern regional sympathy with rice growers, who are put at a decided disadvantage and who had been banking on some relief through a more traditional system of target prices and supports.
Because of its high capital costs, rice has relied most heavily of the direct cash subsidies and will lose as much as $3 billion from the proposed change in commodity payments. At the same time, rice has been reluctant to jump into crop insurance, since the crop is grown in flooded paddies not vulnerable to drought.

Of course the rice growers have big bucks to throw around.  (I'm reading David Corn's latest book with a reminder of an estate tax modification pushed by Sen. Lincoln which got included in the deal between Obama and the Reps after the 2010 election.  Wonder who was pushing it?)

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