The House Committee on Agriculture approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget views and estimates that House rules require be sent annually to the House Budget Committee. The committee's letter identified potential areas for budget reduction and stated it wants to be a part of the solution during the 2012 farm bill development process.
Proposed bipartisan farm bill budget savings of $23 billion that the House and Senate Agriculture Committees drafted last year under the deficit reduction statute and testimony gathered at numerous hearings since 2010, serve as the basis for the committee to write a farm bill "that is more efficient and streamlined and that consolidates duplicative policies," the letter says.
The committee noted that mandatory farm-policy spending, such as for farm safety-net programs, has declined significantly when compared to other mandatory funding policies. Since 2002, traditional farm safety-net spending authorized in Title I of the farm bill has annually averaged $1.3 billion less than Congressional Budget Office projections.
The committee explained that during some of the worst economic times during the last 50 years, production agriculture has served as a catalyst for economic growth and if U.S. agriculture were its own country, it would be the 25th largest economy based on the value of goods produced. Farm safety net spending, the committee said, is less than one quarter of one percent of the federal budget.
Automatic budget cuts resulting from a congressional impasse on the 2011 deficit reduction is expected to force a $10 to $15 billion cut in funding for mandatory programs under the committee's jurisdiction. Spending limits for the committee's discretionary programs also would be reduced.
The current farm law expires on Sept. 30 and the federal government's FY 2013 begins Oct. 1.