Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, held a public hearing to examine the benefits of promoting soil health in agriculture and rural America.
Subcommittee Hears from Ag Economists
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jerry Moran, Chairman of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, convened a hearing to continue to review federal farm policy in anticipation of reauthorizing the 2002 Farm Bill next year. Today, the Subcommittee heard from five university agricultural economists about the role farm economics will play in shaping the next farm bill.
“Last week we made Committee history, by having, for the first time a panel of former secretaries of agriculture come before us to testify. Today, we just might be making history again as we will hear from some of the top university economists from across the nation. Of course we’ve had economic professors as witnesses before, but maybe none of this collective caliber,” said Subcommittee Chairman Moran.
Today’s witnesses did not recommend a simple extension of the current farm policy as supported by some agriculture groups. Witnesses discussed greater potential for de-coupled payments, the influence of trade talks, payment limitations, and the relationship between commodity supports and crop insurance.
“If what we want is a simple program that provides a safety net under farm income with minimal market distortion, the answer isn’t rocket science - a de-coupled direct fixed payment. This, I will submit, is what the Doha Round is all about, and that failure of those talks will lead to more, rather than less, market distortion, more, rather than less, need for commodity programs,” said Dr. Flinchbaugh in his testimony.
This is the Subcommittee’s second DC-based hearing to review various aspects of farm policy under its jurisdiction. The Subcommittee maintains jurisdiction over programs and markets related to cotton, cottonseed, wheat, feed grains, soybeans, oilseeds, rice, dry beans, peas, lentils, the Commodity Credit Corporation, crop insurance, and the commodity exchanges. The Subcommittee will continue to gather feedback from a variety of organizations and individuals involved in agricultural production throughout the remainder of the year.
“We’ve been all across this country, meeting and listening to farmers, and we’ve discovered that no matter the zip code: a farmer is a farmer. Granted, each may have a different perspective, based on commodity and geography, but they face the same kind of issues, similar challenges, believe in that hard work is good work, and wish to instill those values in the next generation of farmers. And we need policies that ensure this continues,” Subcommittee Chairman Moran said.
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.
Dr. Barry L. Flinchbaugh, Professor of Agriculture Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Dr. Ronald D. Knutson, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Dr. Bruce A. Babcock, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Dr. David B. Schweikhardt, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Dr. Carl Zulauf, Francis B. McCormick Professor of Agricultural Marketing and Policy, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio