The House Agriculture Committee approved its “Budget Views and Estimates” letter regarding fiscal year 2013, stating the committee’s priority this year is reauthorizing the farm bill.  The letter outlines the committee’s budget recommendations for the House Budget Committee’s consideration. 

Reminding the budget committee of the importance of reauthorizing the farm bill, the letter states, “Some may argue that the current agriculture economy and farm prices are strong and, therefore, now would be a good time to cut our agriculture policies even further.  But this conclusion ignores lessons from history.  The agriculture economy is highly cyclical.  When prices fall, having a sound farm policy in place is vital, not just for producers, but for the entire economy.” 

Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said the committee has worked to identify areas for potential deficit reduction and had proposed a bipartisan farm bill to the Super Committee last year that would have saved $23 billion.  Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) sent a message to those who want to cut the farm bill even more.  Peterson said, “Last year, the House passed a budget that suggested a $30 billion cut to commodity and crop insurance programs, a roughly $20 billion cut to conservation programs and a $127 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You cannot pass a farm bill with cuts like those. The administration’s recent budget also recommended $30 billion in cuts to commodity and crop insurance programs. Again, you cannot have an adequate farm safety net with those reductions.” 

The House Budget Committee is expected to propose its FY ’13 budget later this month.  The recommendation on agriculture will be a key factor in rewriting the 2012 farm bill.  The Senate Agriculture Committee is proceeding with cuts of $23 billion over 10 years.