Debt reduction committee could impact farm programs

Buckeye Farm News

Farmers are watching to see if farm programs will be on the chopping block as 12 members of a federal “super committee” prepare to identify ways to reduce the national debt.

The committee was appointed as part of a compromise to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in August and is charged with saving the federal government $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion by 2021.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has been appointed to the committee, which will have its first meeting on Sep. 16. Other congressional committees have until Oct. 14 to submit their debt reduction recommendations.

If the super committee fails to deliver a proposal or if Congress fails to enact it by Dec. 23, automatic across-the-board spending cuts will occur in 2013.

Congress may look to reduce spending in crop insurance premium subsidies, direct payments and conservation programs.While Midwestern farmers have tended to favor cuts to direct payments in exchange for a stronger crop insurance program, many Southern farmers grow crops that benefit more from direct payments.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has said it will work with the House and Senate Agriculture committees as they are asked to recommend savings related to agriculture spending and will “recommend savings that will make the most sense for our members and retain the most integrity for the farm programs that serve America’s farm and ranch families.”

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