The USA Rice Federation provides this web page to keep you advised about farm-bill legislation. We want to facilitate your access to current activities, key developments, and essential documents. We’ll be updating the farm-bill page periodically and hope the information is useful.
The 2008 farm bill, which was extended, in general, through September 30, 2013, has expired. The 2008 legislation was included in Title VII of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), which President Obama had signed on January 2, 2013. Though the one-year extension has been terminated, its coverage of commodity programs applies but only to the 2013 crop year. To access a summary of key provisions in the now-expired extension, please click here.
With regard to the extension of the 2008 farm bill for the 2013 crop year, some 2013 crop-year payments will be reduced in FY 2014 (October 1, 2013-September 30, 2014) as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The BCA requires sequestration (automatic across-the-board cuts) to a number of non-exempt programs. For FY 2014, USDA has announced that the following reductions will be made to direct payments and marketing loans for the 2013 crop: (1) direct payments will be reduced by 8.5% and marketing loans will be cut by 5.1%. Part of the reason for the higher percentage reduction to direct payments is that other commodity programs, such as SURE (disaster program) and MILC (dairy program), had already made some payments for the 2013 fiscal year, complicating the ability to make an across-the-board reduction. For this reason, more of the commodity-program reductions are concentrated in direct payments for FY 2014.
A major step toward completion of the next farm bill occurred on October 30, 2013, when U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators from each chamber’s Agriculture Committee and other jurisdictional committees met in formal public session as a Conference Committee to negotiate and resolve differences between the House and Senate farm bills (H.R. 2642 and S. 954, respectively). Please read the October 30 Rice Daily article to learn more about the first formal conference meeting. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) chairs the Conference Committee.
There is no deadline by which the 41 farm-legislation negotiators (29 Representatives;12 Senators), known as conferees, must complete their talks. USA Rice Federation and other stakeholder organizations are urging the conferees to complete their work very soon. Once a final negotiated bill is approved by the conference committee, the legislation will have to be passed by the House and Senate, then signed into law by the President.
Leaders from the USA Rice Federation and national, state, and local rice-industry producer groups sent an October 28 letter to conferees that identifies and explains industry priorities for the next farm bill. A USA Rice Federation issue paper also has been provided. Prior to and since October 30, USA Rice has met and is continuing to meet with conferees or their staff and other key Representatives' and Senators' offices to communicate industry priorities.
The House and Senate each have passed separate legislation that would authorize federal farm-safety net, conservation, trade, nutrition, rural development, credit and other programs. On September 28, the House, by a vote of 226-191, approved a resolution, H.Res.361, which contained in it the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642. The Senate had passed its farm bill, S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, on June 10, by a vote of 66-27. Senate conferees were named in August. On October 11, U.S. Representatives approved legislation to conference with the Senate on the farm bill and, on October 12, the House named 17 Republican and 12 Democrat House farm-bill conferees. On October 11, the House also approved by voice vote a non-binding resolution offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that calls on House conferees to adopt an amendment in the Senate farm bill that would reduce crop-insurance support for producers whose income is more than $750,000 per year.
"The USA Rice Producers' Group thanks the House for agreeing to conference with the Senate on the farm bill and respectfully urges both the House and Senate to move quickly not only to begin negotiations, but also to complete them as soon as possible to have a farm bill in place in sufficient time for rice producers and others in the industry to plan and prepare for planting the 2014 crop," said John Owen, Producers' Group chairman and a Louisiana rice producer, said in an October 15 Rice Daily article.
Rice-district Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) is a House conferee. Two rice-state Senators named to the conference are Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who is a member of the Agriculture Committee. To access a complete list of the 29 House conferees, please click here and, for the 12 Senate conferees, please click here.
USA Rice continues to work with House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders and other Representatives and Senators to get a final 2013 farm bill negotiated, passed and signed into law as soon as possible. The one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill expired, in general, on September 30, 2013. The extension is in effect for the 2013 crop year, but does not extend beyond the 2013 crop year.
House and Senate farm bills differ in their farm-safety net, payment eligibility, payment caps, and risk-management proposals. Major differences also exist in each chamber's food-stamp provisions. Another important difference is the House bill would establish a new basis for permanent farm law by replacing the current underlying permanent farm law, written in 1938 and 1949, with the House bill's commodity title and make it the new permanent law. Traditionally, Congress has suspended the permanent authorizations for the term of each farm bill to be able to implement them in the event a succeeding Congress would fail to authorize new legislation upon expiration of an existing farm statute.
The House and Senate farm bills also would achieve different savings levels over the life of the legislation. In an October 10, 2013, report, the Congressional Research Service says that the Senate-passed farm bill "would reduce farm bill baseline spending by $17.9 billion (-1.8%) over 10 years" and the House bill "would reduce spending by $51.9 billion (-5.3%) over 10 years."112th Congress
USA Rice Federation information about the 112th Congress’ farm-bill proposals can be accessed below.
USA Rice U.S. House Testimony, 112th Congress
USA Rice U.S. Senate Testimony, 112th Congress