Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Ag Committee, and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), ranking member of the committee, presented a suggested outline for spending to achieve a new, 10-year farm bill. The outline represents $6 billion over the current baseline.
In a letter to the Senate Ag Committee, Peterson and Goodlatte said, "In developing this outline, we've included programmatic changes that illustrate how the outline could be applied. It's very clear that program ideas are purely illustrative. Programmatic details will be the product of full conference consideration, as they always have been."
USDA Secretary Ed Schafer and Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner said in a statement, "The funding limits outlined by the House represent the real reform sought by the Administration." They went on to say, "With these reforms and with acceptable offsets for the $6 billion of additional spending, we believe this offer represents a package that is moving in a direction of a bill that the President would sign." Key suggestions compared to the House- passed farm bill by the House Ag Committee include:
- Eliminates direct payments in the ninth year (2016) of the 10-year farm bill.
- No increase in target prices and commodity loan rates, including sugar.
- No subsidies to individuals with an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $900,000/year. Individuals earning less than two-thirds of their income from ag would be held to a $500,000 cap that would be phased down to $300,000 by 2013.
- Loan-deficiency payments established on the day beneficial interest is lost.
- Conservation Reserve Program would be capped at 32 million acres beginning Oct. 1, 2009.
- EQIP would go from $1.3 billion/year to $1.9 billion/year for FY 2012 forward. This is a $100-million/year reduction from the House-passed farm bill.
- Conservation Security Program would have an enrollment goal of 79.6 million acres.
- McGovern Dole Food for Education Program funding would be $500 million through FY 2012. This compares to $840 million in the House-passed bill.
- Nutrition funding would increase $8.5 billion over current funding. The House-passed bill provided for an $11.5-billion increase.