Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill Page: 2 of 28
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Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill
Ongoing budget deliberations by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have generated
concerns that a farm bill to reauthorize farm programs expiring in 2012 may be written by budget
negotiators rather than by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Various proposals have
emerged that recommend lower federal spending, including cuts to agriculture programs ranging
from $10 billion to more than $80 billion over 10 years.
In response, Members of Congress, the Administration, and a number of farm groups have put
forward proposals to reduce government expenditures on farm subsidies and revise farm
programs. Many of these farm program proposals were unveiled in September 2011 as the Joint
Select Committee on Deficit Reduction began its deliberations on government-wide budget cuts.
Other ideas have also been proposed but are not discussed here because of duplication or
insufficient information at time of publication.
Many proposed cuts and policy changes have been directed at commodity programs and crop
insurance because these programs account for the bulk of agricultural funding (excluding
conservation and nutrition programs, which are also considered part of the agricultural budget).
Commodity programs, crop insurance, and the recently expired farm disaster programs comprise
the so-called "farm safety net"-the federal government's suite of programs designed to support
farm income and help farmers manage risks associated with variability in crop yields and prices.
To generate budget savings and provide funding for proposed changes to the farm safety net,
nearly all of the proposals either reduce or eliminate direct and counter-cyclical payments. Most
proposals either leave the marketing loan program unchanged or retain it with modest
modifications; however, it would be eliminated under two proposals.
To facilitate comparisons, the various proposals are loosely grouped into five categories: (1)
minor policy changes, (2) revised revenue programs, (3) enhanced crop insurance, (4) whole-farm
insurance, and (5) other. The proposals may represent a starting point for developing the next
installment of farm programs when the 2008 farm bill expires in 2012.
Congressional Research Service
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Farm Safety Net Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill, report, November 10, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815797/m1/2/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.