House Agriculture Committee

To continue consideration of H.R. 2419, the 2007 Farm Bill

1300 Longworth
Wed, 18 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

From, summaries of the amendment votes at the markup session:

On the conservation front:

Farmers who earn too much to qualify for payments under the bil would be barred from receiving payments under farmland conservation programs, which worries environmentalists.

“Prohibiting and limiting large commercial farmers, in particular, from participating in conservation programs makes no sense,” said Scott Faber, who directs Environmental Defense’s farm policy campaign. “Large commercial farmers are more likely to participate in conservation programs and manage a disproportionately large share of the landscape.”

Amendments passed:
  • The “language barring farmers who make more than $1 million in annual adjusted gross income from collecting government subsidies, and also eliminating payments to those who earn $500,000 to $1 million a year if less than 67 percent of that income comes from farming” was amended by voice vote to “lift limits on marketing loans, which provide short-term loans so farmers can pay their bills until they sell their harvested crops. Aides said this concession by Peterson won support from Southern lawmakers, who worried that the bill would otherwise hurt cotton and rice growers.”
  • An amendment by Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., that would make federal dollars available to expand foreign markets for tobacco. The panel adopted the amendment 14-10, with Peterson’s support. North Carolina Republican Robin Hayes warned that without the support for U.S. growers, Chinese growers would dominate the tobacco industry. North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy predicted the amendment would fail on the House floor. He said it “would endure withering criticism for using U.S. dollars to encourage other areas of the world to smoke.”
Passed by voice vote:
  • An amendment by Tim Walz, D-Minn., that would make it easier for farmers growing organic crops to enroll in the Conservation Security Program.
  • An amendment by Nick Lampson, D-Texas, that would create a one-time incentive program to encourage the market growth of oilseeds, which are lower in trans-fats.
  • An amendment by Sam Graves, R-Mo., that would bar farmers or companies defrauding the Agriculture Department from participating in the agency’s programs.
  • An amendment by K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, that would prevent the Agriculture Department from writing subsidy checks smaller than $25. It costs the department too much to write checks for smaller amounts, Conaway said.
  • An amendment by Jim Costa, D-Calif., that would require 50 percent of funding in the Regional Water Enhancement Program to be spent on new water preservation projects. Waterways in California and elsewhere could benefit from those federal dollars, Costa said.