New farm bill programs will be fewer in 2018

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas says he expects fewer new programs in the 2018 farm bill than there were in 2014.  Money is the big consideration.  At the Ag Outlook conference last week in Washington, D.C., he said that the introduction of new programs for the 2018 farm bill will need to be accompanied by proposals of where funding will come from.

“If I got to give your new idea money, then I got to take it away from somebody else,” said Conaway, at the Ag Outlook Conference.  “If your new idea is better than all the other ideas, then show me the idea that’s not as good as yours that you want to take the money from.”

The House Agriculture Committee will not be doing field hearings, but instead will do on-the-record listening sessions at various locations, said Conaway.

“I want to hear not only from the producer groups as we move around the country, but I want to hear from individual farmers who are coping with whatever’s going on in their lives,” said Chairman Conaway, “however the farm bill is helping them or not helping them; whatever crop insurance is doing or not doing, and of course we want to hear from the SNAP people as well as we move [the hearings] around.”

Conaway talks more about the farm bill this week at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio.

The House Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry takes testimony Tuesday morning on farm bill conservation policy.  And the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hears testimony Tuesday about International Market Development.

The full House Ag Committee meets Wednesday morning to consider 2018 budget issues for agencies and programs under its jurisdiction.

AUDIO: Mike Conaway (4 min. MP3)

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