House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Friday released the House draft of the 2013 Farm Bill, touting nearly $40 billion in savings.
Lucas said the bill is a "responsible and balanced bill that addresses Americans' concerns about federal spending and reforms farm and nutrition policy to improve efficiency and accountability."
The House will begin markup on the bill May 15. Highlights of the bill include:
Like the Senate draft, the House draft ends direct payments. Counter-cyclical payments, the Average Crop Revenue Election program, and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments would also be discontinued under the plan.
Producers would have the option of selecting Price Loss Coverage or Revenue Loss Coverage. Cotton farmers may also purchase a group-risk policy, STAX. The Supplemental Coverage Option will also be available.
Dairy and livestock
Under both the House and the Senate drafts, dairy policy is similar. Industry groups have disagreed over the proposal, but just as last year's farm bill, both the senate and house have proposed the Dairy Security Act, complete with a Dairy Market Stabilization Program.
The proposal would do away with the Milk Income Loss Contract program and the Dairy Export Incentive Program, as well as the Federal Milk Marketing Order Review Commission.
The draft would reauthorize the Dairy Forward Pricing, the Dairy Indemnity Program, and Dairy Promotion and Research.
Disaster assistance is included in the House draft. The Livestock Indemnity Program, Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish is also included.
For producers that have been in drought conditions for a prolonged period, an additional month of support is provided in the Livestock Forage Program.
Approximately $6 billion will be saved in the conservation title by streamlining 23 programs into 13, just as the Senate draft outlines.
The proposal clarifies that the programs will still provide "voluntary, incentive-based financial and technical assistance for conservation practices."
The Conservation Reserve Program would be decreased to 24 million acres under the proposal, with additional flexibility for haying and grazing.
Current funding would be maintained for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, with priorities for beginning or disadvantaged farmers. The Conservation Stewardship Program would also be continued, but enrollment would be capped at 8.695 million acres per year.
The House draft estimates saving $20 billion through cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – a large difference from the $4 billion reportedly garnered from changes to SNAP facilitation in the Senate version.
Similarly, the House plan does close loopholes including benefits for lottery winners and deceased recipients, while continuing programs for seniors and children.
Several other programs relating to trade, rural development and other USDA outreach programs would be continued in the House plan.
The current farm bill -- an extension of the 2008 bill -- expires Sept. 30.
Click here to read a summary of the House draft bill.