As farmers rush to finish planting, the House Ag Committee will begin farm bill hearings this week in Washington. One Congressman expects the House to build on the reforms called for in the Senate Farm Bill.
Indiana Congressmen Mike Pence, a former member of the House Ag Committee, has been through several Farm Bill debates and says the House will likely propose widespread reforms in U.S. farm policy, “We have some good prosperity in agriculture, especially here in Indiana. If there ever was a time to introduce more market-based reforms, this the time.”
The Senate is proposing to cut $23 billion from farm program spending. Pence feels the House may cut even more but without hurting key farm programs, like research and conservation, “There is plenty of room in every sector of government to find the kind of savings to change the financial direction of the country.”
He feels the Senate Farm Bill is a good start, but is confident the House can “sharpen our pencils when it comes to the House version of the Farm Bill, without compromising out commitment to agriculture.”
Pence says he was confident in the leadership of Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman, one of only a few farmers that serve on the Ag Committee.
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House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has stated the House will make significant changes to the commodity section of the Farm Bill, “I am disappointed by the Senate bill’s commodity title because it does not work for all of agriculture. It fails to provide producers a viable safety net and instead locks in profit for a couple of commodities. I have made it clear that my chief priority is making certain that the commodity title is equitable and provides a safety net for all covered commodities and all regions of the country.