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E-M:/ Farm Bill update






LandWorks
Policy Update
November 28, 2001

This Policy Update will also be posted on the LandWorks Web site
<http://www.farmland.org/landworks.html>


RURAL DEVELOPMENT TITLE STRIPPED FROM ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE

The Rural Development Title has been stripped from the Economic Stimulus
package in an attempt to bridge differences between Republican and
Democratic strategies. The deleted title included funds for the Farmland
Protection Program (FPP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program
(EQIP) in FY02. Arguments about tax breaks versus government spending
continue to bog down the process for this bill.


SENATE EXPECTS FARM BILL DEBATE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has stated that he intends to bring
the Senate Agriculture Committees farm bill to the Senate floor
Thursday, November 29. Negotiations have been ongoing and will continue
behind the scenes until then. Some Republicans are vowing to slow the
process down by attaching the controversial energy bill to the farm bill
if it comes to the floor.

The Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill on
November 15, including a joint Harkin-Lugar conservation title. Though
the programs are authorized only from 2002 to 2006, the bill is scored
over 10 years. The five-year conservation spending is $17.5 billion.
Conservation spending over the full 10 yearsincluding the final five
years of figures that, in theory, would become the new baseline for the
next farm bill but which cannot actually be spentwould come to $41.5
billion.

These figures are higher than the House version of the farm bill,
H.R.2646, which would spend $16.5 billion in the first five years and
$37.3 billion over the 10-year period that it authorizes conservation
programs. Current baseline spending is $9.7 billion over five years and
$21.5 over 10 years.

FPP funding in the Senate version of the farm bill is currently $150
million for FY02 and FY03, $175 million for FY04 and FY05, and $200
million for FY06.  This $200 million figure is the new baseline that
covers FY07 through FY11. There are still a few concerns with some of
the FPP language as drafted. For example, instead of simply
reauthorizing the program, the FPP is included in the statutory language
that authorizes the new Conservation Security Act.

Senators Leahy and Reid introduced an alternate bill on November 16 that
would increase total conservation spending. It includes numbers that are
similar to those in the Kind-Boehlert amendment that was defeated in the
House. Co-sponsors of the Leahy-Reid bill include Senators Leahy, Reid,
Torricelli, Chaffee, Corzine, Schumer, Jeffords, Kennedy, Reed,
Lieberman, Dodd and Sarbanes.

American Farmland Trust (AFT) continues to work on improving the
language of the farm bill. Though pleased with the increases proposed
thus far, AFT is working to bolster these numbers in ways that will not
threaten support in the conference committee with the House. AFT has not
expressed support for any of these bills.

Contact: Tobey Williamson, AFTs Federal Policy Program Manager, (202)
331-7000 x3020


2001 FARM BILL FACTS AND FIGURES

The National Association of Conservation Districts has posted a
comprehensive comparison of the conservation titles under the House and
Senate bills and current law online at
<http://www.nacdnet.org/govtaff/FB/Combest-SenateAg.htm>. Highlights
from the various bills are included below.


H.R. 2646House Ag Committee Bill: The Farm Security Act of 2001

Approved by a vote of 291-120, the House bill would spend ~$120 billion
total on commodity programs over 10 years. The Conservation Title would
spend ~$35 billion over 10 years on the following programs:
7 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment cap increased from 36.4
million acres to 39.2 million acres;
7 Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) enrollment cap increased from 97,500
acres/year to 150,000 acres/year;
7 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) average of $1.3
billion/year;
7 Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) average of $38.5
million/year; and
7 Farmland Protection Program (FPP) $50 million/year.


Boehlert-KindGilchrest-Dingel Amendment to House Farm Bill

Narrowly defeated in the House 226-200, the
Boehlert-KindGilchrest-Dingel amendment attempted to shift funds from
commodity title to increase conservation title to $54 billion over 10
years, including the following conservation programs:
7 CRP enrollment cap increased to 45 million acres;
7 WRP enrollment cap increased to 250,000 acres/year;
7 EQIP $1.7 billion/year;
7 WHIP average of $380 million/year; and
7 FPP average of $410 million/year.


S. 1628Senate Ag Committee Bill: Agriculture, Conservation, and Rural
Enhancement Act of 2001

The Senate Agriculture Committee bill would fund programs for five
years, but is scored over 10 years, spending a total of ~$170 billion
over the next decade. (Note: the Senate continues to negotiate about the
bill passed out of committee. Some figures are likely to change.)
Commodity programs would receive a total of $115-120 billion over the
10-year period, while the conservation title would spend ~$35 billion.
Notably, the bill includes Harkins new Conservation Security Act, which
would pay farmers for existing and new integrated conservation
improvements. Conservation spending would be distributed as follows:
7 Conservation Security Act (CSA) average of $500 million/year;
7 CRP enrollment cap increased to 40 million acres;
7 WRP enrollment cap increased to 250,000 acres/year;
7 EQIP average of $900 million/year;
7 WHIP average of $72 million/year; and
7 FPP average of $170 million/year.


S. 1727Leahy-Reid Bill: Conservation Assistance and Regional Equity Act
of 2001

The Leahy-Reid bill would shift funds in the Senate Ag Committee bill
from the commodity title to increase conservation title programs to $5
billion/year.
7 CRP enrollment cap increased to 42 million acres;
7 WRP enrollment cap increased to 250,000 acres/year;
7 EQIP average of $1.3 billion/year;
7 WHIP average $430 million/year; and
7 FPP average of $440 million/year.


This Policy Update will also be posted on the LandWorks Web site
<http://www.farmland.org/landworks.html>.