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La. Farm Bureau/Radio Network‏

October 11, 2013

Farm Bill Impact

The Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri recently released a new report entitled "Impacts of Selected provisions of the House and Senate Farm Bills." The report provides a thorough side by side comparison of the commodity programs included in the House and Senate farm bills that will be at issue if and when they get to conference. The Senate recently reappointed its conferees, which consists of seven Democratic committee members and five Republican members. The House has yet to appoint conferees.

Click here for the full report: Impacts of Selected Provisions of the House and Senate Farm Bills

South Dakota Cattle Disaster

According to the Executive Director of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association - five-percent of the herd in the western part of the state may have been lost in a record-breaking storm that dumped four-feet of snow on the area. If that estimate holds - that would mean 75-thousand dead cattle. But Jodie Anderson says folk are still assessing the damage. She adds that the timing of the storm was terrible - as cattle didn't have their winter coats and hadn't been brought to winter pastures where more protection would have been available. In the midst of government uncertainty - including the lack of a farm bill - Anderson says cattlemen are worried they may not have any government protection to help them recover from this disaster. To stress how the lack of a comprehensive farm bill leaves livestock producers without a federal safety net - South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem spoke on the House floor Tuesday about the cattle losses in her state and the need for a new farm bill that would cover livestock disasters. She said it's time to finish the farm bill - time to go to conference and have negotiations on the most reform-minded bill that's been put together for decades. Noem said getting the farm bill done could give producers in western South Dakota more certainty in these very difficult times.

Crop Insurance Regulations

House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas believes conservation compliance measures tied to crop insurance would be a misguided and redundant regulatory burden imposed on farmers and their property rights. He's philosophically opposed to the linkage. That's why he was applauding the American Farm Bureau Federation Board for reportedly voting to oppose conservation compliance linked to crop insurance. According to Lucas - conservation compliance is already the law of the land. He says all farmers who receive assistance through USDA commodity, conservation and credit programs must protect the nation's wetlands and environmentally-sensitive croplands. Lucas is a believer in these conservation compliance standards and voluntary, incentive-based conservation practices. He says she shares the concerns of Farm Bureau regarding the inconsistency with which conservation compliance provisions could be implemented on a state-by-state and county-by-county basis. Lucas says tying conservation compliance to crop insurance would create another layer of bureaucratic, red-tape potentially endangering a farmer's livelihood at a time when USDA is already overwhelmed with determining wetland designations for producers who are subject to compliance. Lucas says farmers and ranchers are the best possible stewards of their land - successfully using conservation practices to protect our natural resources.

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