USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse heard concerns from lawmakers this week at a House Ag subcommittee hearing on Farm Bill implementation.
South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem told Scuse that farmers need adequate time to reach conservation compliance if they make an honest mistake, “I know producers out there many times are busy, they’ve got a lot of acres they’re covering. They may unknowingly make a change and to make it whole before they lose that subsidy, I think, would be the right thing to do.”
Scuse said farmers will have the ability to come into compliance after the June 1st, 2015 deadline so they don’t lose the subsidy. That time period, he says, will be in the final rule.
Texas Congressman Mike Conaway asked for the USDA to implement the Actual Production History (APH) adjustment for crops in 2015 rather than 2016 as planned. He said states like Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado and other states are suffering through an on-going drought and need relief.
Scuse said that would be a huge undertaking to get the APH before then but he would come up with potential timelines and consider partial implementation for those areas. The APH is used by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to determine “normal” production levels for producers.
And, Ranking House Ag Committee Member Collin Peterson told Scuse the Farm Service Agency needs to reach out to producers about the new dairy program sooner rather than later.
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