USDA Secretary Mike Johanns testified before the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday as the committee reviewed USDA's farm bill proposals.
Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., offered a mixed assessment of the proposals.
"The Committee is receiving Farm Bill input from many sources, including USDA, and I was pleased to see that Secretary Johanns included some good ideas in his proposals, even though there are some areas where we disagree," he said during the hearing.
"I intend to make sure that we protect the safety net, while adding new initiatives that will revitalize rural America and help our country achieve energy independence. It is an ambitious agenda, but I am confident that we can do it."
As a cornerstone of its farm bill proposals, USDA is suggesting a revenue-based countercyclical payments as a new, more market-oriented safety net for farmers. That proposal is "one of the ideas warranting further investigation," says ranking committee member Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. "We need to understand exactly how that might work and the implications for farmers and ranchers."
Johanns' testimony and opening statements are available at agriculture.house.gov.