Washington The National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) is pleased that the House Agriculture Committee has passed a Farm Bill that includes many of the priorities for, and recommendations from, Americas cattle producers.
"The bill is a winner for cattle ranchers across the country," said Jay Truitt, NCBA Executive Director for Legislative Affairs. "It includes funding for conservation programs important to the cattle industry, increased funding for producer technical assistance from third parties and an increase of more than 100 percent for market access program assistance."
The conservation section of the bill devotes $16.511 billion over 10 years to soil, water and wildlife programs a 75% increase in baseline spending. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), including important funding for livestock producers, was reauthorized through 2011 at a $1.2 billion annual program level, and 2 million acres is authorized in the Grassland Reserve Program to be enrolled in 10, 15 and 20 year contracts.
"The House Agriculture Committee heard NCBAs message on support for commodities, too," continued Truitt. "The bill proposed is market driven and recognizes the interdependent nature of American agriculture." The commodity programs title of Farm Bill 2002 is expected to continue in much the same way it was established in 1996, and is not expected to have unintended consequences of a negative nature to beef production.
"The trade section is another important part of this legislation," said Truitt. "We are pleased that NCBAs request for $200 million for the reauthorization of the Market Access Program was met." The bill also contains a provision to facilitate the expansion of high-speed Internet access to rural areas, an important tool for many small businesses, including cattle ranches. One of the few disappointing facets of the Farm Bill debate was that no consensus could be reached on Country of Origin labeling.
"NCBA will continue to pursue labeling initiatives, to provide consumers with the information they seek and U.S. producers with the market recognition they deserve," concluded Truitt. NCBA successfully thwarted an effort to require all producers nationwide to utilize a federally mandated and managed animal identification system.
The update summary of the House Agriculture Committees 2001 Farm Bill, after amendments, is found at http://agriculture.house.gov/sumsechr2646.htm on the House Agriculture Committees Web site. A news release has also been updated to reflect these amendments in the Committees voice vote passage on Friday. The release is found at http://agriculture.house.gov/press/pr010727.html.