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Bert Chapman Govt. Information, Political Science, & Economics Librarian/Professor of Library Science Purdue University Libraries-2010 USAIN Conference-May.

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Presentation on theme: "Bert Chapman Govt. Information, Political Science, & Economics Librarian/Professor of Library Science Purdue University Libraries-2010 USAIN Conference-May."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bert Chapman Govt. Information, Political Science, & Economics Librarian/Professor of Library Science Purdue University Libraries-2010 USAIN Conference-May 11, 2010

2  Occurs approximately every five years.  Sets out federal government financial support for farmers, federal price supports, and agricultural commodities.  Public Law (Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (663 pages long)  Initial 2008 version vetoed by President George W. Bush, but overridden by Congress

3  Various agricultural commodities including cotton, dairy, fruit & vegetables, feed grains, peanuts, rice, soybeans, sugar, and wheat.  Legislation also covers agricultural policy in areas such as commodity price supports, crop insurance, land & water resource stewardship, food assistance, rural energy efficiency, rural economic assistance etc.

4  Presidential administration (especially USDA and Office of Management & Budget (OMB) present preliminary proposals involving congressional agricultural committees including:  House Agriculture Committee (Current chair Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) and ranking member Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)  Senate Agriculture Committee (Current chair Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)  House Appropriations Committee Agriculture Subcommittee (Current chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and ranking member Jack Kingston (R-GA)  Senate Appropriations Committee Agriculture Subcommittee (Current Chair Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and ranking member Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). (These last two committees subcommittees are responsible for “cutting the checks” to fund these programs.

5  House Agriculture Committee (45 members 111 th Congress-2009/2010)  Senate Agriculture Committee (21 members 111 th Congress-2009/2010)  These committees, working with the administration, will introduce legislation and conduct hearings in Washington, DC and various locales in the U.S.

6  Witnesses will be invited to testify in favor or opposition to various provisions of the legislation and to existing agricultural policy programs.  Witnesses testifying will represent farmers organizations, agribusiness organizations, environmental and energy groups, agrifinancial groups, average farmers and ranchers, and producers of agricultural commodities who express their views on strengths and weaknesses of existing agricultural policy and improvements they desire.  Regional differences may affect agricultural policymaking. For instance, Wisconsin and New England politicians and dairy producers disputed over the Northeast Dairy compact which expired in 2001.

7  Committees will conduct hearings “marking up” this legislation. Further negotiations occur between committee members, witnesses, and committee staff writing the legislation. (Hearing transcripts on this from exceed 8,144 pages!) Members and interest groups may insert “earmarks” for favorite programs.  Costs estimates will be incorporated including Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring. CBO estimates this legislation’s cost as being $286 BILLION between History demonstrates such estimates tend to be LOW!

8  This legislation is introduced in House and Senate. These chambers Agriculture Committees eventually approve bills and file legislative reports which must have consistent language, funding levels, criminal penalties etc. for full House and Senate to approve.  If legislation is not approved, House and Senate leadership appoint “conference committees” to try and resolve these differences. If so, a conference report is issued which becomes the official legislative history.

9  If House and Senate differences are resolved, both House and Senate must approve this legislation which will then be sent to the President for signature or veto. Consult Congressional Record for transcripts of this debate.  2008 legislation was vetoed by President Bush, but was overridden by 2/3 vote in both congressional houses and became law.  Agencies propose and receive public comment on regulations to implement this law’s provisions which can be commented on and revised in the regulations.gov/ portal.

10  Federal farm legislation is a highly complex, expensive, and controversial process. Represents an excellent example of how watching legislation being enacted is like watching sausage being made-it’s not pretty!  Criticized by U.S. critics representing a variety of ideological perspectives. Conservatives criticize its use of earmarking and high financial costs and loss of individual farmers freedoms. Liberals criticize its tendency to favor large farmers and agricultural producers who don’t need agricultural subsidies to sustain their operations.  Criticized by foreign critics due to the high subsidies it provides U.S. farmers and commodity producers which makes it difficult or impossible for foreign countries to export their agricultural produce into the U.S.  Preliminary planning for next farm bill (2013?) may already be underway.

11  USDA 2008 Farm Bill  USDA Economic Research Service House Agriculture Committee House Appropriations Committee  Senate Agriculture Committee Senate Appropriations Committee  Government Accountability Office  Congressional Budget Office National Agricultural Law Center University of Arkansas Library of Congress Subject Headings: Agriculture and State United Stateswww.cbo.gov/  Agricultural Subsidies United States Environmental Working Group Farm Subsidy Database

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