One of the big debates of the 2018 farm bill will be planted acres versus base acres.
“One of my primary concerns moving forward with agriculture is making sure that we don’t get splits among the commodity groups and within the commodity groups,” said U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference at the San Destin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Fla. July 22. Scott is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
“The last thing that I want to happen is for peanuts to become the target for some of the outside conservative groups where they come in and accuse people of getting payments for acres that were never planted. I think that this accusation is coming. I think this drum roll is going to get louder. One of the big debates in the farm bill will be planted acres versus base acres,” Scott said.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who also serves on the House Agriculture Committee, also spoke at the Saturday morning session of the peanut conference. He said passing the 2018 farm bill will once again be a challenge. He noted that members of Congress from urban areas and suburban areas are “not as keen on rural issues as we need them to be.”
He said members who come in after the 2018 election cycle and have ag interests in their district need to be educated about the 2018 farm bill. “I want you to realize how hard it is for us to get people to do right on this,” Rogers told the peanut-heavy crowd.
The difficulty in the last farm bill, when it made it to the House floor, wasn’t Democrat versus Republican, but it was opposition form “some of the most extreme members of the Republican party who became enamored with outside groups like Club for Growth and Freedom Works and Heritage Action PAC who hate farm programs,” Rogers said.
“They think farm programs are government giveaways and they want them gone,” he stressed. “Some of these folks will be representing ag communities and ag districts and they come to Washington and vote against the farm bill. Then they go home and tell farmers ‘Well I was for the farm program, it’s the food stamps I don’t like. There was too much money in food stamps; that’s why I voted against it.' That’s a lot of hooey; they’re really against the whole thing.”
With this in mind, Rogers would like House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) to bifurcate the farm bill between the nutrition program and farm program after the bill clears the agriculture committee and comes to the House floor for passage.
“Neither one is going to pass on their own, but it will show us who are friends are and who they aren’t,” Rogers said.
“We’ll vote just on food stamps and just on farm programs And we’ll see who votes against the farm programs then. And then they can come home and explain to their folks back home whether they really or true friends or not. And then we will put it back together and see if we can pass it. That’s my number one goal with the net next farm bill after passing it is to make sure we run some of these folks off who really aren’t up there to advance the interests of their constituents.”