Farm Bill a hot topic at Commodity Classic


Commodity Classic is the official trade show and convention for four different national commodity groups: the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Sorghum Producers. This year the Classic is in Nashville, TN.

During today’s General Session, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is slated to give the keynote address and speaker Mark Mayfield will moderate a roundtable discussion on hot farm topics with the four commodity association presidents – Steve Wellman of the American Soybean Association, Wayne Hurst of the National Association of Wheat Growers, Garry Niemeyer of the National Corn Growers Association, and Terry Swanson of the national Sorghum Producers.

Rusty Halvorson met up with Wheat Growers President Wayne Hurst at the Trade Show yesterday. Although the group may have some differences of opinion when it comes to farm policy, Hurst says the commodity organizations share far more in common.

Farm Bill 1

Hurst is referring to the farm bill proposal that leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees drafted last year during the so-called “super committee” process. Rusty also visited with Corn Growers President Garry Niemeyer.

Farm Bill 2

Senate Ag Committee ranking member Pat Roberts has said he believes the committee will finish its work on the farm bill by Memorial Day, and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said she hopes the committee will be able to act on the bill earlier than that.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson has pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office is scheduled to release a new baseline for current farm bill programs in mid-March —  that will determine how much money the ag committees have to spend in the new bill.

In 2008, when the farm bill expired, Congress only extended sections of the farm bill that the Ag Department needed to operate programs.  Congress could do the same this year rather than extend the entire bill.