Committee Holds Eighth Audit Hearing on Agricultural Programs

Jul 27, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, held an audit hearing to examine Title I programs and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. This is the eighth hearing in the series on farm policy that is designed to provide oversight of current spending to ensure programs are delivered effectively. It also provides Members of the Committee with a comprehensive view of farm programs.

Title I programs, plus crop insurance, form the backbone of the farm safety net, but only account for roughly 16 percent of all farm bill spending. In addition to crop insurance, the primary components of the title include direct payments, the counter-cyclical program, and marketing loan assistance. Together, they ensure that farmers have support during seasons of bad weather and volatile prices. The 2008 Farm Bill introduced another form of commodity support in the form of Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE). Also new to the 2008 Farm Bill is the SURE program, which provides assistance to eligible producers suffering crop losses during natural disasters.

"In the last few years American agriculture has experienced a multitude of perils, both natural and man-made.  With that in mind, and Congress lacking the ability to accurately predict the future, it is imperative that future farm policy not only mitigates a crisis, but also establishes a framework to prevent one. With little time before the next farm bill, we should be cognizant that our resources are finite, our decisions are timely, and our investments need to last. Our choices must be wise," said Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX).

"As a farmer, I have always considered myself an eternal optimist.  However, every now and then the farmers and ranchers who feed our nation face painful consequences to their operation.  Our producers must operate and succeed in an industry that relies on uncontrollable forces, such as weather, ever increasing cost of inputs, and market volatility.  We need to provide a strong support system to enable farmers and ranchers to continue to provide the safest, most plentiful and affordable food supply in the world.  All Americans have a vested interest in their success," said Ranking Member Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA).

Written testimony provided by the witness is linked below.

Witness List:

Panel I

Mr. Bruce Nelson, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Accompanied by:

Mr. Juan Garcia, Acting Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.