The Environmental Working Group has come up with a farm bill proposal that it claims would save $80 billion over 10 years, nearly four times more than the $23 billion that leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees used to draft sweeping changes in farm policy for the now-defunct Super Committee.
"I'm hoping opening the process back up will allow us to have a more normal relationship with the Agricultural Committees," EWG Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources Craig Cox said. "And clearly an opportunity for lots of members of Congress who are vitally interested in the farm bill but aren't on the committee to weigh in."
EWG is weighing in with a plan that it says would provide a true safety net for working farm and ranch families. The group wants Congress to eliminate direct and counter cyclical payments, LDP's, ACRE and SURE, and replace them with free crop insurance that covers yield losses of more than 30% while removing federal premium and other subsidies for revenue-based insurance products. The proposal would also require producers to meet a basic standard of conservation practices in order to be eligible for publicly-financed crop insurance.
Cox says that EWG is calling for an open, democratic farm bill debate.
"I think an open process will produce a farm bill that is better for all of American agriculture," Cox said. "And it is also better for the American taxpayer and the American consumer."
EWG is demanding that the four top Ag Committee leaders on Capitol Hill make public all the details of the farm bill they drafted behind closed-doors.