Home / News / Policy news / Peterson plans a sequel to 2002 farm bill

Peterson plans a sequel to 2002 farm bill

Agriculture.com Staff 11/08/2006 @ 2:12pm

Tuesday's election means that when the Democratic party takes over the House of Representatives next year, a moderate member of the party from Minnesota, Collin Peterson, will be the new chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Wednesday, Peterson told Agriculture Online that writing a new farm bill will be his top priority, and he expects it to look a lot like the 2002 farm bill.

Any change will be "kind of on the margin," he said.

After participating in House Agriculture Committee listening sessions of farm policy this year, Peterson is convinced that farmers don't want radical changes.

"What we heard around the country is that basically, people like the current bill. And I like the current bill," he said.

Although some farm groups have called for an extension of the 2002 farm bill, Peterson sees that only as a last resort. "That would only happen if we couldn't get anything else done," he said.

The new farm bill, "is going to basically look like what we have," he said. "We are going to tinker with some of this stuff. We're not going to get rid of the safety net."

Peterson said that he believes the demand for biofuels will keep prices of corn and other commodities at higher levels, which could lead the Congressional Budget Office project less need for spending on commodity programs in its baseline for farm program spending. If that happens, then he hopes to restore funding that has been cut for other 2002 farm bill programs in conservation and agricultural research.

"If we are going to level out at $3 or $3.50 corn, that's going to change the whole world," he says.

Peterson insists that partisan politics won't affect the Agriculture committee.

"We're a bipartisan committee. We work that way. We want to. And frankly, we have to," he said.

He also said that he could work with the next chairman of the Senate Agriculture committee, whether it's a Republican or Democrat.

"Saxby Chambliss is one of my best buddies," Peterson said of the Senate's current Ag Committee chair, who is a Republican senator from Georgia. "We've hunted together, with his kids and my kids. He's been up here and I've been down there." The two men have hunted quail in Georgia two or three times and pheasants in South Dakota twice, Peterson said.

Peterson said he may have more disagreements with the White House on farm policy, especially if it proposes a 60% cut in commodity program spending in its next USDA budget, which it may do to encourage revived trade talks under the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization negotiations.

"I think the Doha Round is dead in the water -- probably for the length of the next farm bill," he said.

He said he plans to meet with White House ag advisers soon to discuss farm policy issues.

"Hopefully we can work on a bipartisan basis. I think that's what people wanted in this election," he said.

Tuesday's election means that when the Democratic party takes over the House of Representatives next year, a moderate member of the party from Minnesota, Collin Peterson, will be the new chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

CancelPost Comment
MORE FROM AGRICULTURE.COM STAFF more +

Farm and ranch risk management resources By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Government resources USDA Risk Management Agency Download free insurance program and…

Major types of crop insurance policies By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am Crop insurance for major field crops comes in two types: yield-based coverage that pays an…

Marketing 101 - Are options the right tool… By: 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am "If you are looking for a low risk way to protect yourself against prices moving either higher or…

MEDIA CENTERmore +
This container should display a .swf file. If not, you may need to upgrade your Flash player.
Improving Soil Health