Congress may push idle cropland back into production or get rid of a $5 billion-a-year subsidy to grain, cotton and soybean farmers when it overhauls U.S. farm law, a House committee chairman said on Wednesday.
Lawmakers will have billions of dollars less to spend on the so-called farm bill than in 2008, Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said. "There will be some stuff that falls off the table" as priorities are set for funding.
Interviewed at the Reuters Global Food and Agriculture Summit, Lucas used the 32 million-acre Conservation Reserve, which idles fragile cropland, and the $5 billion-a-year "direct payment" as examples of items that could be hit by fiscal austerity or become a target in wide-open House debate.
In the end, "there may not be as many acres in the next farm bill," said Lucas, referring to the Conservation Reserve.
For more, see: Tight money, open debate may trim U.S. farm aid