Rice leaders have been concerned at how the different commodities are treated under the Senate version of the farm bill almost since the day it was unveiled in the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition last spring.

Under the CBO’s 10-year baseline that is calculated for all commodities, rice originally was assigned funding of $4.3 billion per year. Both the Senate and House Ag Committees set out initially to reduce spending by 30 percent or to about $3 billion, using the rice baseline figure.

The House Ag Committee bill, which has yet to reach the House floor for a vote, contains $3.2 billion in spending for rice while the Senate Ag Committee bill, which was passed by the Senate last May, contains $1.5 billion for rice.

The larger cut for rice growers isn’t the only controversy that has arisen over the differing House and Senate approaches to the next farm bill.

An analysis by Outlaw’s center at Texas A&M and the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute or FAPRI at the University of Missouri has drawn criticism from supporters of the Senate bill for its dire predictions of what could happen if the mostly high current price levels for commodities go south.

“I’ve been quoted by a number of reporters lately as saying ‘you don’t do a farm bill for the good times,’” Outlaw said during his farm bill update presentation at the outlook Conference. “’You do a farm bill for the times when things go bad.’ Some people have been critical of those comments.”