The House Agriculture Committee yesterday approved its "Budget Views and Estimates Letter" that was sent to the House Budget Committee as required by the Congressional Budget Act. The letter provides the Agriculture Committee an opportunity to detail its agenda for the year and how programs under its jurisdiction are functioning during the current federal budget situation.

The committee noted that its 2011 agenda will be focused on two major areas: oversight of regulations that affect jobs and the economies of rural communities and preparation for writing the 2012 farm bill. The latter will include an "audit" or inventory of all policies under the committee's jurisdiction.

The letter indicated that budget reductions have already occurred, including $6 billion last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's renegotiation of the standard reinsurance agreement for crop insurance, and $7.5 billion from fiscal years 2003 through 2010, the result of Appropriations Committee reductions to mandatory agriculture programs.

The committee also noted the agriculture industry's huge contribution to the U.S. economy, helping lead the country out of the most recent recession. It also discussed the need to maintain a strong and stable agriculture economy to meet the anticipated need to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050 by doubling production, while using fewer resources.