The Bush Administration is pushing more than 65 new proposals as part of this year’s farm bill. The proposals focus heavily on specialty crops, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged producers.
Mixed reviews for Farm Bill
It would spend approximately $10 billion less than the 2002 farm bill spent over the past five, upholding Bush’s plan to eliminate the deficit in five years.
Industry reaction has been mixed. Cal Dooley, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers/Food Products Association called it a positive step toward a more market-oriented farm program.
“While not the giant stride we were hoping for, it is clearly a step in the right direction,” Dooley said. “The bill’s proposals would help reduce market distorting trade subsidies and serves to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to advocating agricultural policies that can hopefully lead to a successful completion of the Doha round of trade talks.”
The International Dairy Foods Association expressed “deep disappointment” in the Farm Bill proposals, criticizing the decision to maintain the Dairy Price Support Program and the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program which it called “a poorly conceived, regionally divisive payment program linked to price and production.”
“The administration’s proposal keeps dairy policies stuck in the 1930s and ’40s,” said Chip Kunde, IDFA senior vice president. “While boldly suggesting a new, healthier direction for other commodities, the administration’s plan fails to do so for dairy.”