Johanns Offers Many Amendments for Senate Farm Bill - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Johanns Offers Many Amendments for Senate Farm Bill

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Following the passage of a farm bill by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week -- a bill that Sen. Mike Johanns voted against -- he has offered and cosponsored several amendments which Johanns says he hopes will improve the bill.

"This farm bill is not the bill I would have written, but, in addition to the troubling aspects of the bill, there are several provisions that I believe are a good step for American ag policy," Johanns said. "The amendments I'm offering and cosponsoring address the areas I have the most concern with in an attempt to make farm policy more fair, more market oriented and find additional savings for ranchers, farmers and taxpayers."

One of the amendments offered by Johanns would eliminate the special minimum price protection for rice and peanut producers. He says this amendment would ensure fairness to all producers by using the same payment formula for all commodity crops.

Another amendment introduced by Johanns would require the chief economist to issue annual reports on the impact and interaction of the Agriculture Risk Coverage program with other farm programs, such as crop insurance and the new supplemental coverage option.

A third amendment would look to prevent the double regulation of certain pesticides. Producers would no longer need to obtain a permit from the EPA for pesticides already regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Johanns also offered an amendment that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay foreign farmers. According to Johanns, the U.S. has made $147 million in annual payments to Brazilian cotton farmers so the United States can delay changing market-distorting cotton programs. He said the U.S. should expect to comply with decisions from the World Trade Organization, the same way we expect others to comply.

The last amendment offered by Johanns would look to close a loophole in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The amendment would prevent states from automatically enrolling individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for the program. According to Johanns, the amendment would not affect individuals who actually qualify for the program. 

In addition to the above amendments offered by Johanns, he cosponsors many others:

  • Prohibit EPA from releasing data on livestock producers.
  • Limit federal payments to high-income farmers.
  • Repeal market-distorting target prices and put reference prices for rice and peanuts back in the Ag Risk Coverage program with other commodity crops, similar to the bipartisan farm bill last year.
  • Eliminate the double payment available only to peanut farmers. Farmers have an annual limit on amount of payments, but if the same farmer grows peanuts, they can receive double the payment amount.
  • Help beginning and veteran farmers.
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