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The latest tug-of-war: billions in farm subsidies and rural aid

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The latest tug-of-war: billions in farm subsidies and rural aid

“Our focus has to be on making the funding for climate change solutions user-friendly and agri-friendly,”Rep. Jim Costa (D.Calif.) stated inInterview.

The farmEvery five years, the bill is reauthorized. It affects almost all aspects of the agricultural sector. and rural economies. It finances programs that span the entire spectrum of human endeavors. farm subsidiesFood assistance and rural jobs programs. Strengthening the bill’s climate provisions would cement the Agriculture Department as a central player inFor years to come, government efforts will be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Democrats want to win support from agricultural groups, which could press Republicans to fund farmer-friendly climate programs if they take control of the GOP before the deadline.

“I think this will be the first time we see some pretty impactful policies related to climate change,” Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.) said.

But Republicans have bristled at the Biden administration’s move to have USDA take a big role inClimate change can be fought mainly through direct payments programs andGrants to farmers for voluntarily adopting greener practices

Rep. G.T. Representative G.T. In an interview, Thompson was noncommittal about Democrats’ interest inVoluntary conservation: Scaling up andForestry programs.

“I don’t think anyone can determine whether that’s appropriate or not without going through a transparent process on the farm bill,”Thompson said.

Thompson, who supports the agricultural sector in addressing climate change, said that some of the climate money should be used. in Democrats’ spending package went to “flawed policies” andWas “thrown in”Without much oversight. More oversight of existing farmHe also stated that bill programs will be one of the main goals of the forthcoming talks.

Democrats aren’t convinced Republicans would be able to rapidly scale down their plans on contentious issues like climate andDemocrats have control over nutrition assistance andRepublicans previously, and bitterly, clashed. Around $10 billion inFood for children aidIs stalled in Democrats’ spending bill.

A House aide to Democrats argued that Republicans’ attempts to reduce climate funding or nutrition funding are unacceptable if Democrats retain control of the Senate. “going to be D.O.A.”If Democrats lose both Houses, andSenate. That would force President Joe Biden’s decision on whether he would sign the final legislation or veto it.

“The last two farm bills ended up in some pretty partisan disagreements. So it’s not uncommon that we start off with some sort of gap about how we’re thinking about it,”Rep. Chellie Puingree (D. Maine), said that she meant conservation programs for farmers.

Disaster Relief

As extreme weather becomes more common, lawmakers recognize that Congress will have to change how it funds disaster relief. and widespread. In this year’s legislative request andCongress approved separate, emergency disaster relief for the West. andOther regions affected by extreme weather Asking aidOutside the farmWhile bills are usually faster than others, some legislators worry that they undercut the budget. farm bill’s authority.

“I think there’s going to be a debate about if there is a way that we can tweak the existing programs so that ad hoc relief is not necessary to quite the same extent,”Rep. Dusty Johnson (R.S.D.).

Officials from USDA are also keen to improve disaster relief funding. farm bill. Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary farmProduction and conservation, said during a recent trip to drought-stricken Oregon that he’s hoping there’s an opportunity for “a conversation going into the next farm bill about [disaster relief] and how we make sure programs work as intended.”

After severe weather caused widespread crop losses in major West and upper Midwest regions, federally subsidized crop coverage is one area lawmakers are trying to improve. and South. The program is funded by producers andThey can file claims if there is significant crop damage or loss in that year.

Rep. Cheri Busters (D.Ill.), who chairs House Agriculture subcommittee farmCommodities and risk management, said she’s looking for more ways to get producers involved with crop insurance, “as weather anomaly after weather anomaly is now becoming weather norms.”

Rep. Cheri Busters speaks from the House of Representatives floor at the Capitol on April 23, 2019, 2020.House Television via AP. File | House Television via AP, File

Only 14 percent of all farms participated in 2020 in federal crop insurance, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

“We’ve got to get risk management right,” Bustos said. “That will be critical.”

Bustos plans to retire in2023, when Republicans are on the track to flip this chamber andAssist in the leadership of the committee and the farm bill talks.

Inflation concerns

Lawmakers will also need decide how much to spend. in federal subsidiesThey are a boon for farmers and ranchers after 2021 farmAccording to a USDA forecast, incomes rose significantly.

Gains inThe commodity prices have increased to an extent that is not expected. farmIncomes at their highest levels in close to a decade. The agency now estimates 2021 net farmIncomes will reach $116.8 trillion this year, an incredible 23 percent increase over 2020.

The increase was also accompanied by a significant decline inThe federal amount subsidies in2020 could be a year to make the case for pulling back farmBill spending.

Some Republicans like Senator Mike Braun from Indiana are particularly interested inReduce the amount of farm bill as Democrats’ climate andSocial spending bill hanging inThe balance.

“I think it puts in jeopardy any of the other normal appropriations,” Braun said.

Despite the dramatic jump, in farmMany lawmakers on Agriculture committees expressed concern about the possibility of cutting federal assistance in the face of the current pandemic that has caused major disruptions to the industry.

“You have to look beyond the ebbs and flows of the very cyclical commodity prices and not get distracted by that,”Sen. Tina Smith (D.Minn.) stated.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he’s hesitant to pull back on federal subsidiesAs rising inflation andProducers are still being affected by supply chain bottlenecks

Boozman will be a major player inFuture farm bill talks, which he’s argued Democrats have “undermined”By pushing their now-stalled spending legislation. If Republicans flip the chamber inThe midterms and if Boozman defeats a primary challenger, he could take over the Senate Ag Committee’s top spot when lawmakers begin writing the bill inEarly 2023

“When you look at the price of fertilizer, when you look at the price of diesel and all these kinds of things, I think we’re going to see significant increases next year also,” Boozman said.