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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 31, 2013 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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well, good afternoon. it's been a long time in coming, but we are here. and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to have all of us here today together. i was thinking, mr. chairman, that when you and i started, i remember when i came into the house, we were kind of at the low end of the totem pole on the
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agriculture committees. and now we both have the honors of working together. and it really is an honor to work with you as we bring this final farm bill home. and that's what we're all doing. this has been a wonderful process with our four agricultural leaders, with ranking member peterson, with ranking member cochran, and our first farm bill to pass the senate with ranking member pat roberts. we have had a very important, and i think, precedent setting opportunity to show how to govern. and we also have been working together for three years in a bipartisan way to reform and streamline agricultural policies that work were families and farmers and taxpayers going back to the super committee. i just have to say one more time that we're very proud of the fact that during that process we were the only committee that came together, the leaders in a bipartisan, bicameral that time
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working together ever since. so it's my honor to move on behalf of the senate that the distinguished gentleman from oklahoma, chairman frank lucas, be designated as chairman of the conference. if there is no objection -- there is a second. so ordered. mr. chairman. >> thank you, madan senate chairman. i think that's a good way to start the day, as a unanimous consent motion. most assuredly, you're exactly right. we're very fortunate to be at this table, to have an opportunity not only to try and move agricultural policy forward in this great nation, but to make sure that the tools are there for our farmers and ranchers, to make sure the safety net is there for farmers, ranchers, and consumers in this country and around the planet. you alluded a moment ago to the opportunity to work together with some very wonderful people at this table.
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rarely do you get the chance to work in this fashion as you and i have with the very people who were our mentors when we arrived and who are our partners now as we craft this policy together. i would just say to all my colleagues, i know that we face some daunting challenges, that we are working in a very complicated environment to craft a very technical bill that touches so many important parts of our society, of our economy, and of this country as a whole. and i know that there are many different perspectives on social policy, on agricultural production policy, but i'm confident that the spirit that's been demonstrated in achieving this point, passage of both bills out of the house and
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senate, committees and across the floor, that we can accomplish that. and i would be most remiss if i didn't note the special appreciation i have for my ranking member and my friend, i believe, colin peterson, as well as all of my friends at this table and most assuredly on the other side of this table. i take this responsibility that we have together to accomplish this important goal very seriously. i live in a part of the country where between mother nature and federal policy on two, almost three occasions in this last century, my folks saw their way of life nearly completely destroyed. i know that we cannot persuade mother nature necessarily on any given day to do things differently, but we can provide the tools that enable our
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producers back home to withstand both the forces of nature that perhaps they have no control over on any given day as well as the markets and the advance of technology and international trade and all of those things that together affect us. if the droughts in the midwest last year wasn't a clear enough reminder about the tools that are necessary when it comes to agricultural production, then most assuredly the blizzard of not many weeks ago that wreaked such havoc across the dakotas stand as a solemn reminder. and also not just on the side of the chart where we help make sure there's enough food and fiber, but on the side that reflects the struggles that many of our fellow citizens have meeting their needs every day as consumers. the nutrition title is a very
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important part of the national safety net and how we address all of those components most assuredly will affect the lives of literally millions and millions of people across the country. so i would say this to my friends all around this table. it took us years to get here, but we are here. it may take days and weeks, perhaps, to finish crafting what we'll call the 2013 farm bill in popular discussion at the coffee shops, but we can do it. we have to do it. we have a responsibility to do it. with that, let me simply say to my colleagues, let's not take years to get it done. i now recognize the distinguished gentlewoman from michigan, the honorable chairman of the senate committee on
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agricultural, nutrition, and forestry, for her comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in a congress that's too often divided, it's refreshing we're able to come together in agriculture, work across the aisle and accomplish real reforms. we have an incredible opportunity with this conference committee to finally get this five-year farm bill done. i agree with the chairman. working together, we will get it done. and we'll be able to demonstrate to colleagues in both chambers that we can really govern together, which i think is so important. in june the senate passed a farm bill with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of 66 votes. and i want to thank my ranking member, distinguished senator from mississippi, senator cochran, for his leadership and his friendship. our bill represents the biggest reforms to agricultural policy in decades. along with the house, it ends direct payments.
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we tighten payment limits, modernize dairy policy, stop people who aren't actively engaged in farming from getting taxpayer subsidies. the senate agrees with the house that our focus should be on strengthening and reforming crop insurance. we've heard from the beginning that risk management was the key priority for our farmers and our ranchers all across the country. in our bill, we flex that by expanding comp insurance to coverer more farmers and more kinds of crops. we also agree with the house that it's important to have an effective permanent livestock disaster assistance program the chairman referred to. between the droughts after last year and the early snowstorms in had the dakotas, we have seen the importance of having the disaster assistance in place. as the senate has made these reforms, one of our top priorities has been to reduce market distortions. designing agricultural policies that are risk based, market
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based will be a critical goal in our final negotiations. we also worked hard to make sure the senate bill would not be trade distorting while promoting u.s. agricultural exports that our producers all rely on. as we make this shift to risk management policies, it's very important that farmers and ranchers continue to do the things that make them the best stewards of our land and our water resources by reconnecting conservation compliance to our now-strengthened crop insurance program. we protect the future of agriculture for our children and grandchildren. we must also save fragile grasslands from destruction with the national sod saver program that protects these lands skaps and habitats while keeping management decisions with our farmers and our ranchers. the good news in the conservation title is both the senate and the house have similar reforms that will strengthen our partnerships with
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farmers to protect our natural resources for future generati s generations. i'm pleased to see that both the senate and the house have a strong specialty crop and horticulture title, supporting specialty crop, organic, and local food production because we know that 47% of the total crop value in agriculture comes from specialty crops alone. the senate bill helps create new jobs through a robust energy title. this title helps our country be more energy independent, saves farmers money and helps consumers at the pump. this is a win, win, win for rural communities and america's future. for our farmers, crop insurance is a lifeline when disaster strikes. for american families, s.n.a.p. provides a lifeline when they face family economic disasters. we worked hard in the senate, mr. chairman, as you know, to make real reforms to save money on food assistance.
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we cracked down on fraud and misuse to make sure that every single dollar goes to families that need it. and that's the approach we will need to take to achieve bipartisan support to get a final farm bill. it's also critical to note that this friday, $11 billion in cuts to families will take effect across the country. for those getting food help, and that means every child, every senior citizen, every disabled veteran, every person who's lost their job will have a more difficult time putting food on their tables. also, that $11 billion, plus the $4 billion in cuts in the senate bill, mean that accepting this senate nutrition title would result in a total of $15 billion in cuts in nutrition. the good news is the cbo projects that over 14 million people will no longer need temporary food help over the next few years because the
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economy's improving and they're going to be able to get back to work. while there are many areas that are similar between our two bills, there are of course other differences, one i will mention. one area of great concern is the provision that would override state government's constitutional authorities on a wide range of issues, including animal welfare, milk standards, labeling of artificial sweeteners and invasive pests, just to name a few. mr. chairman, i am very pleased to be here with you in this conference committee, where i am confident we can work through these difficult issues and we can come together, make tough choices, set priorities, and find common ground. there are 16 million men and women whose jobs rely on the strength of agriculture. they're counting on us to work together in good faith, get the farm bill done, and i'm confident we won't let them down. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, madan chairwoman. the chair now turns to the
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gentleman from minnesota, the ranking member of the house ag committee, mr. peterson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your leadership and hard work in getting us to this point. you've done an excellent job. senator stabenow over in the senate, senator cochran for his good work and senator roberts in the previous congress. we've been -- so i think like everybody i'm glad to be here. i'm going to try to exert some leadership and be brief. we'll see how that goes. anyway, you know, we're hopefully at the beginning of the end of this process. you know, we first started this almost four years ago when i was chairman. i probably got started earlier than i should have. but this has been going on too long, and i think i speak for all of us in saying that it's long past time to finish this farm bill. the difference between the house and senate farm bills, they span
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all titles and programs, conservation, dairy, crop insurance, even permanent law. they all need to be addressed. resolving these issues obviously poses a challenge, but i know that our respective agriculture committee members have the background and the experience to develop sound farm bill policies. i believe that if the conference committee is left alone and allowed to do our work, we'll be able to find some middle ground and finish the farm bill. i think we've got a good group of conferees and everybody is committed to finishing the job. we've been working on this bill for so long that i think we're actually at the point where most of the staff work has been done. really, it's time for the members now to start making the compromises necessary to put this bill together so that it can be defended and clearly explained to our colleagues and the general public. it's time to put together a bill
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that can pass both the house and the senate and be signed by the president. so with that, i'm not going to go into all of the issues. i think they've been covered to some extent already. and anybody that's paying attention has heard more out of me in the last four years than they want to hear anyway, so i don't need to say it again. so i just hope that we can find the way to move forward, get these things worked out and get this resolved as soon as possible. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the ranking member of senate agricultural committee, the gentleman from mississippi, senator cochran. >> mr. chairman, i'm pleased to join our chairwoman and other members of the senate delegation in thanking you for the efforts you're making to impress us with the decor and the space that we have here in the house of
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representatives. it brings back a lot of good memories for me and i know the others who may have served here in the house of representatives. but we know we have a serious responsibility today, and that is to begin an effort to get a fair and workable farm bill reported back to our two bodies. we hope we can do that recognizing the urgency in some of these areas where questions need to be answered in order for farmers to make decisions and others who are affected by this law. so you have our commitment to try to be a positive influence in this process. we thank you for your courtesies. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm very happy to be here today as we formally kick off the conference committee process in this 2013 farm bill. it's been a long and a sometimes
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bumpy road to get to this place. and i want to thank the chairs and the ranking members for their diligent work and determination to get us to this point today. chairman lucas and ranking member peterson have both been strong leaders throughout this process. i'm grateful to them and grateful to the members of this committee, especially grateful to the staff, for the staff, which has done so much work behind the scenes. as we begin the conference process, i hope we can work together across the aisle to resolve the many issues critical to our farmers and ranchers around the country. it's time for congress to give our producers the predictability that they deserve. we need to do that by passing a five-year farm bill as soon as possible. i'm honored to represent one of the most productive agricultural districts in america as we work towards that end. i entered into this process in 2012 with several priorities. many of them are in the underlying bill. i will be doing as much as i can to nurture this process forward for those and many other reasons. i appreciate the work that's been done on these bills,
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especially to maintain the role of federal crop insurance as our producers' safety net. it has become an improvement to become more reliable for producers and ad hoc disaster programs. we'll reduce much of the political maneuvering through crop insurance and increase the coverage and allow our producers to share the risk. another issue that's critical to iowans and americans is conservation. with direct payments eliminated, it's important that we provide incentives for farmers to continue to be good stewards of the land. it's been a lot of my life's work. i've been pleased to work with my house colleagues in putting together strong title two programs. i'll be anxious to see how this discussion plays out in this conference. one issue at the forefront of people's minds is the nutrition title. as the chair of the department operations oversight and nutrition subcommittee, i'll continue to work with my colleagues to implement reforms in the s.n.a.p. program to cut
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back on waste, fraud, and abuse in the program to ensure those funds are available to those who are needy. the cost of s.n.a.p. has more than doubled from 2008 to 2012, as have the enrollees gone from 28.2 million up to 47.7 million. i'm interested and encouraged by the news that i've heard from the chair from the senate side on this information. but finally, i'd add that an amendment that i added to the farm bill will remain one of my top priorities moving forward. it was accepted by a voice vote in both the 2012 and the 2013 markup. this amendment is found in section 11312 of hr-2642. it's a simple and straightforward amendment. i developed it on the premise of having recognize that the commerce clause in the constitution prohibits trade protection between the states. it became relevant, though, after california passed a law in 2010 that mandates that
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beginning 2015 no eggs be brought into or sold in the state unless they are laid by hens housed in facilities that effectively are double the infrastructure cost to our producers. i will go deeper into this amendment as we discuss this, but the bottom line of it is that no state should be allowed to regulate the production in other states, any state, including california, is free to regulate, even overregulate their producers but not to regulate the other 49 states. that's a topic that i'm confident we will discuss. but mr. chairman, i'm anxious to begin this process and i'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to finish our work on this bill. i went to the president's desk before the snow flies. i realize i'm a little late in some of the states but not all the states. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair must take note as he recognizes the next esteemed senator that this is one of a couple senators over there i learned a great deal about the conference committee work from. my first experience at seeing
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how it was done. chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was thinking as you were speaking earlier and chairman stabenow was speaking, how fortunate we are to have two of you as chairs and the two ranking members in senator cochran and congressman peterson. as senator stabenow mentioned the work with senator cochran, he and i are served together for decades. we've both been chairs or ranking members of the senate agriculture committee. we've served on seven farm bill conferences since 1981. i could show you the scars, but having people with experience like the two chairs here and the two ranking members here helps a lot. it's been 13 months since the last farm bill expired. i have farmers in rural
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communities in vermont telling me every day how imperative it is we overcome our differences. it's not only a farm bill, it's a trade bill, a hunger bill, a conservation bill, a reform bill, innovation bill, deficit reduction bill. it's also a job creation bill. we passed a bipartisan bill twice in the senate. we had -- republicans and democrats, we each had to give some, and we did it. it reforms commodity programs, ends trade distorting policy, creates jobs and saves taxpayers $24 billion. not bad. and on dairy, farmers across the country support an insurance program, but one that has to work in tandem with the mark stabilization program. i hear this from the kitchen tables to the high school gymnasiums in my -- in the farm areas, agriculture areas of my
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state. we've done that in the senate bill. farmers remember the dairy crisis of 2009. they know an insurance program alone is not enough. if we don't have stabilization, we're going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of additional dollars and virtually guarantee another dairy price and put people out of business. so there's a number of other things which i will put in the record. we have to have strong nutrition programs. i think of people like bob dole and george mcgovern coming together in the past to do that. as chairman of the senate judiciary committee, i believe nothing in this bill should limit the authority of the secretary to protect our farmers from deceptive business practices. and we just need this certainty we have to have in this. we can do it. you've got the leaders. you've got the men and women at this table in both parties who can do it if we really want to. i hope we will. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for your kind words. >> gentleman yields back.
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the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. mcintyre. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we all know the road to this farm bill conference has been long, and i know we're glad this day is here. i do want to thank the leadership from both the house and senate for your hard work and your consistency in bringing us to this point. the farm bill is critical to my home state of north carolina as agribusiness continues to be the number one industry as it has been since colonial days. in fact, employing approximately one out of every five north carolina -- north caroli carolinaresidents. i along forward to us moving this to a conclude, having a strong, fiscally responsible, bipartisan bill we can pass and do it as soon as possible. we're all tired of waiting. we've witnessed the harsh effects of an expired farm bill
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a few weeks ago with the storm that devastated the livestock industry in the midwest. this type of concern shows the importance of passing a bill and doing it soon to give certainty and security for our producers because we know disasters can happen any time, anywhere. rural development has always been something we've seen make a difference. 85 of the 100 counties in north carolina fall under rural economic development opportunities for these programs, and that means not only helping our farmers but it means economic development and jobs in rural america. it means the water and waste water projects that all of our county commissioners come to us to talk about, it means broadband. it means the fire, law enforcement, and emergency services that our communities need so desperately. and it means support for small business. for all those who are listening and watching, this is about economic opportunity here in the united states and making sure that our rural areas are not forgotten. i hope we'll also be able to take care of the situation with the gipsa rule.
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i know that's been a concern we want to stay consistent with the precedent set by congress. and we want to find a solution that modifies the country of origin labeling that satisfies our wto trade rules. -- while fulfilling our commitments to our trading partners. we also know that increasingly states across the country have made it harder for livestock producers to be able to sell their products all across the u.s. and the world. by limiting the types of restrictions states can place on producers from other states, the farm bill can ensure that farmers can sell their products across the u.s., stay in business, and employ folks in our rural communities. i look forward to working with all of you. i know this is time to show the nation we do know how to work together. we can make a difference. and by god's grace and your commitment to do so, we will get
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it done in a timely fashion. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now has a particularly distinct honor and privilege of not only recognizing his neighbor, his original mentor, and the fellow that will always be a chairman to him, the senator from kansas, mr. roberts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that very much. chairman lucas and chair stabenow, ranking member cochran, ranking member peterson, all my other colleagues, it is indeed a privilege to be here with you today to begin this farm bill conference committee. we've all worked very hard to get to this point, and that's probably the understatement of my statement, and have already made significant strides, i think, in achieving necessary reforms. for example, both bills do eliminate the direct payments and our commodity and disaster
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programs. we have heard consistently from producers in all regions, from ann arbor, michigan, to wichita, kansas, that crop insurance is their number one priority. our producers are willing to put their own skin in the game to protect themselves from disaster. the full house of representatives and the senate have made the commitment through the supplemental coverage option and other provisions that crop insurance is the most responsible farm safety net for farmers and the taxpayer. however, i do have concerns with several senate provisions that unnecessarily duplicate regulation on farmers' practices and restrict our producers' coverage. for ranchers and livestock producers, i am pleased that both bills extend the disaster programs from the 2008 farm bill, including the livestock condemn anity program and the livestock 4h program. i also appreciate the house addressing several burdensome regulations that a lot of us
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have worked on in the senate, including pesticides, farm fuel tank storage, the lesser prairie chicken, god bless the lesser prairie chicken, and manned story control of origin labeling. regarding nutrition and the s.n.a.p. program, the house passed similar reforms, legislation offering to tighten federal eligibility standards and end wasteful and duplicative programs without harming benefits to those who need the most assistance. finally, i do have some significant concerns regarding two proposed commodity titles. the 2010 senate passed farm bill contained real reform. we ended federal subsidies that encouraged farmers to plant for the government, i.e. target price programs. this year's version created a new adverse market payment program, the a.m.p. program, tied to decoupled historic base
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acres. the house price loss coverage program, the p.o.c. program, went further backwards in my view and recoupled production to planted acres and sets high fixed target prices. a modern farm bill should not create planting, marketing, or international trade distortions. let me be clear. target prices should be decoupled and the government should not set prices at a level that practically guarantees profit instead of acting as a risk management tool, not to mention inviting serious problems with a wto complaint. let me assure you that the stove was hot. in closing, we are all around this table for a reason. i'm here and committed to resolving these difficult differences in order to provide certainty to our producers and a forward-thinking farm bill that's responsible to farmers, ranchers, their lenders, and consumers as well as taxpayers all across the country.
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thank you so much to the leadership of both committees, the producers who have participated in all of our hearings and meetings, and all the members here for working to advance agriculture. i'm reminded of the remarks by the distinguished chairman emeritus of the sometimes powerful house ag committee who always said, we strive to get the best possible bill and in the end result we get the best bill possible. the distinguished chairman of the house committee said, we have to do it, it is our responsibility to do it, it is my view, and also the view of our ranking member in the house, colin peterson. we're going to lose credibility if we don't get this bill done. we have to get this bill done. thank you very much. >> gentleman yields back his time. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> well, thank you, mr.
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chairman. i also want to thank you for your extensive preparation you put into bringing us to this point to get a new farm bill. over the past two years, we've closely examined each of the programs to determine what was working and what needed reform. this process has helped us achieve a smart farm bill for producers, consumers, and taxpayers. the house bill achieves significant savings, $60 billion over ten years, which makes a genuine contribution to reforming washington's out-of-control spending. my priorities for this farm bill are simple. we need a long-term policy in place so our farmers and ranchers can make informed business decisions. we need to make a market-based policy responsive to fluctuations in production and price without dictating what reproduce. we also need an efficient program that make good use of the taxpayers' dollars. the divide between production programs and nutrition programs has been well documented over the past few months, but i think our goal for both issues is the
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same. to maintain a strong safety net, to help people through tough times, and to help people spring back on to their feet. in farm programs, we've moved away from direct payments towards programs that are grounded in the market. we've strengthened public/private partnerships and shared risk programs like crop insurance. i'm proud my crop insurance proposal has been included in both the house and senate legislation. shallow loss coverage allows producers to pool their risk and ensure themselves against the smaller losses that could over time put them out of business. we also moved to a revenue insurance program for dairy producers rather than attempting supply management. this is in line with the overall direction of the farm policy in both the house and the senate bills towards a more market-based support. so it's important to me we include that in the farm bill. i'm also hopeful that we can move away from other market distorting programs. one of the key issues of this conference must be addressed country of origin labeling, mandatory government-run labeling program is not only
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trade distorting but increases the cost without demonstrating any real benefits. i'm confident we can address our differences and come together and finalize an efficient market-based program to support our farmers and ranchers. admittedly, we are far apart in some of our goals of nutrition assistance, but why does the safety net need reform? because people are getting tangled up and stuck in it. the house addresses this by ending benefits for individuals that quite honestly don't qualify for them, allows us to save billions of dollars without cutting assistance to families that are actually in need. this isn't about weakening nutrition assistance, rather it's about making a program sustainable over the long term. this is a goal i think we can all agree on. i'm looking forward to working together on our shared goals an resolving our differences and i'm confident we can finalize a farm bill that serves the best interests of producers, consumers, and taxpayers. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding back. the chair now recognizes another esteemed gentleman that he
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learned much about the farm bill process from in the '02 conference, the gentleman from iowa, mr. harkin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's a pleasure to be with you again. we've been through farm bills together. i might say, this is the way things ought to work. this is the way we should work. get together in conference committees and work these things out. this is my eighth farm bill that i've worked on. twice as chairman in 2002 when dick luger was the ranking member. on the house side, it was larry convest from texas and charlie stenhill. we got a farm bill in 2002. the senate was democratic. the house was republican. and we had a republican president. and we got a farm bill done. then in 2008 i was chairman an we did the 2008 farm bill. at that time, it was my good friend saxby chambliss. on the house side, of course, it was colin peterson and bob
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goodlatt. there was long conferences. these conferences drug on and on and on. i know you were there, mr. chairman, for those. but we got our work done. i take what colin peterson said earlier to heart. you know, these things are long. we get involved, but if we're left alone, we can do our job. we can reach the agreements that are needed. as you said, we have to always keep in mind when we're hammering out our agreements the farm bill won't become law unless it's passed by both houses and signed by the president. we have to keep that in mind. so again, balanced, bipartisan solutions. i'm proud of the fact we did that twice in the senate. we had a bipartisan farm bill that passed in 2012 and came back and passed again in 2013. i might also point out that in the 2008 farm bill, we had it vetoed twice and had to override
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the veto twice. that was all bipartisan. it was not a partisan effort at all. just a couple of thoughts on this bill. we have asked our farmers in this country to produce more and more and more, and they've responded. but as we produce more, we see more and more of our soil going down the rivers. it used to be when we did conservation programs, it was to pay someone to take land out of production, crp, things like that. but as we begin to ask producers to produce more, we became very much aware of the fact that we needed conservation on working lands and for our livestock producers that were producing more in terms of livestock. therefore, we have csp, the wrp, equip. they're significantly oversubscribed. twice as many seek to join the csp program as we are able to get in. so again, i hope that we'll keep our focus on the fact that we need conservation on working lands. energy title.
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we put the energy title first in the 2002 farm bill. we improved and strengthened it in 2008. it's critical, i believe, to maintain the $880 million in mandatory funding that we put in the senate. it's crucial for our rural areas, our small communities that are building their own energy systems. conservation, i mentioned on working lands, but also for lack of what everyone calls conservation compliance. the fact is the vast majority of producers already do that. so are we going to then say to the few that might be bad actors that you can still get your insurance and stuff and not do what the vast majority are already doing on their own? so i'm hopeful then that we can adopt the conservation compliance programs that we have. most farmers are doing that already themselves. they shouldn't be put in with
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maybe a few bad actors that are out there. the commodity programs, i echo what's been said about careful to minimize government programs on farmers' decisions on what they grow and how much they grow. that ought to be their decision based upon the productivity of the land and what it's suitable for and what the market demands and not what the government poses. further mo furthermore, i hope that we do not interfere with usda's good-faith actions to carry out the packers and stockyards act and the country of origin labeling. lastly, let me say about food assistance. this has been a part of our farm bill since i started on it back in the '70s. and we have always reached agreements on this. and we have periodically -- i remember a long time ago working on fraud, waste, and abuse and food stamps and changing it around and modifying it. different times call for different circumstances. but the fact is, we have a lot of low-income people out there,
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a lot of kids. and i'll just say this right now. you know, people say, well, there's a lot of single adults out there. they ought to be working before they could get food stamps and stuff like that. we learned a long time ago that there are a lot of people out there that have been deinstitutionalized that have mental health problems. they can do a little bit of work here and there, but they can't hold full-time jobs. yet, we have provided them -- we made the decision a long time ago to provide them with access to food. and then they can work part time and you can do part-time work and make some income at the same time even though you don't have a full-time job and you can still continue to get nutritinutrition supplement -- nutrition programs. there are just a lot of people out there like that. they don't qualify for disability, but they can't work
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full time. they fall in that gray area. if they have access to good food and nutrition, they're not crowding into our emergency rooms and things like that. i just hope that we can reach some reasonable agreements on the nutrition program, meet our obligations to the consumers of america, and low-income americans that have always looked at this committee, this committee, to make sure that we don't have beggars on the streets and that people have access to affordable and nutrition food in this country. i think that's the least we can do as a great country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. costa. >> thank you very much, chairman lucas and chairwoman stabenow, ranking member cochran and ranking member peterson, our staff, and also you, senator harkin, for reminding us of some of the history of how farm bills were put together over the eight
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farm bills you've been a part of. when we used to have conference committees on a more regular basis. i think i speak for most of our colleagues here about today. it's about time. it's about time. we wanted to have this conference committee a year ago. took us a year to have a conference committee. and it's been three years in the making. it's time for us to step up to the plate and demonstrate to the american public that we're capable of working together on a bipartisan basis after all, that's why they send us here, to solve problems. we talked about the nutrition title. i believe it should and can be worked out. but rather than simply focusing our attention on just cutting the program, i think common sense reforms. i think efforts by the committee and subcommittees to go out around america and find out what's going on would be a better way to deal with this and how we improve this title.
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we have the pilot program in the house bill that identifies best practices for employment and training programs. i think that pilot program can be used across the country to help move those people that we think can be moved from dependency to independence. next it's imperative that i think we enact serious reforms to the dairy program. i represent a significant part of the king valley. it has perhaps among the largest and most diverse agriculture in america. many of you have been there. i know. i attended some of your events. it's a great part of america. i'm a third-generation farmer. been in the dairy business most of my family since we came to this country. we can no longer expect, i think, the american taxpayer to hook beyond the hook by dairy
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producers by maintaining the status quo, which is a law that doesn't -- and was passed by the senate. also of great importance for many of us in california is the removal of the vague and overly broad king amendment, with all due respect, which is clearly targeted at california producers. this amendment is not only anti-california, but if you think about it, it sets up a one size fits all policy to be determined in washington. for those of you around this table that believe you're a federalist, this is anti-federalism. it basically says that we know better than the states to act on their own behalf. therefore, i think we have to deal with that amendment. as consumers increasingly turn
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to organic products throughout this country, i think the organic certification cost share program supports our producers and maintains the integrity of the industry in the united states. we need to continue to improve on that. additionally, in the 2008 farm bill, this is my second farm bill, we created some good work product for specialty crops. that's a technical term. we're talking about fruits and vegetables. we all love our fruits and vegetables. the environmental quality and incentive program known as equip and the conservation innovative grants program, these provide important tools to improve air quality and create greater water efficiencies and conservation. i support the senate version. i think it's the way we ought to go. i also want to urge my colleagues to preserve the grain inspection packers and stockyard
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administration language that representative mike conway and i offered and had adopted. i think that will allow the poultry and livestock producers to no longer have to worry about losing their marketing options, which is very important. finally, i think we need to provide funding for a study to determine -- or we are providing funding for a study to determine the impact of what has been controversial, the mandatory country of origin label. i don't think we need a study. it's not working. and it runs counter to the world trade organization, the wto, and our important trade partners both in canada and mexico who have obviously protested that program. we also, i need not remind all of us, have an agreement with canada and mexico with nafta. this issue is an important one and i think needs and should be resolved in this conference committee discussion. finally, american consumers and
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the people who put the food on our table, those are american farmers, ranchers and dairy producers of which my family has been a part of for three generations, they expect us to work together. when i go home, that's what they tell me. the goal is to produce the most cost-effective food in the world at the highest quality for american consumers and for the world. and nobody does it, nobody does it better than america's farmers, dairy men and ranchers. this legislation, as has been stated before, has had a history of bipartisanship. we should work in that spirit. we need to send signals to the marketplace that only a five-year farm bill can provide. so again, i want to strongly encourage my colleagues to leave our partisan politics at the door so we can work our differences out in this process. thank you, mr. chairman.
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thank you, madam chairwoman and i thank my colleagues for being a part of this conference committee. we do this so seldom. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. chambliss. >> thank you, chairman. i'm pleased to be here today to begin discussions on a comprehensive, sound, five-year farm bill. it has been quite a journey over the past three years, and i know that all the conferees are here, ready to get this behind us and let's move forward. this will be my fourth and final farm bill as a member of congress. as pa former chairman and ranking member of the senate agriculture committee, i recognize how difficult it is to combine all the diverse interests into a single piece of legislation that meets the needs of all crops, regions, and rural and urban communities that the farm bill impacts. both bills before us today embody reform, streamlining and consolidation. with the biggest issue facing our country being our growing
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debt and deficit, i want to commend the leadership on both sides, both the house and senate ag committee chairs and ranking members for stepping up and doing the work necessary to find savings. while we take these essential steps, we must also do this in an equitable and fair manner. it is also important to note that this bill must not only work to protect producers in times of need, but it must responsibly serve as the nation's safety net for the nutritional well being of low-income americans. our nutrition assistance programs play a key role in ensuring that needy americans have access to the food they need to lead healthy, productive lives. however, we must take this opportunity to assess the programs to find savings while still ensuring those in the greatest need are provided a helping hand. agriculture producers face a combination of challenges such as unpredictable weather,
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variable input costs, and market volatility that all combine to determine profit or loss in any given year. the 2008 farm bill provided a strong safety net for producers and successor legislation must adhere to and honor the same commitment we made five years ago. while i understand there are different ideas about what safety net is best, i urge my colleagues to recognize that one program does not work for all crops. both bills before us attempt to provide producers with options to find what works best for them, and that is certainly a step in the right direction. importantly, congress has taken a fresh look at our commodity programs while maintaining an effective safety net that is so critical to america's farmers. we should provide options to farmers while at the same time act as responsible stewards to the taxpayer. i've had this conversation with my colleague from kansas who
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spoke earlier, and i'm not saying anything that he hasn't heard me say before, but frankly, when we had the debate on the senate farm bill, there was general concurrence that the a.m.p. program complements crop insurance and crop insurance complements the a.m.p. program. when producers don't feel that the revenue-based programs or shallow loss programs work for them, they do need to be provided an option to manage their risk. i urge my fellow conferees to remember the importance of giving producers choices. also, i would like to recognize that the upland cotton policies contained in the senate and house versions embody fundamental reform that meet our commitments in the world trade organization. legislation eliminates or changes all title one programs providing direct support to those involved in cotton production and addresses head on and remedies the criticisms central to the wto dispute with
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brazil. in the end, i am confident that we can balance the needs and interests between commodities and regions to reach our common goal of getting a farm bill across the finish line. ultimately, the reason we are here is to represent those who work the land each and every day to provide the highest quality agriculture products of anybody in the world. it's important to the farmers and ranchers of georgia as well as to farmers and ranchers all across this great nation that we uphold the strength of the safety net that american agriculture depends on in this farm bill. we have the opportunity to write a bill that is equal to their commitment to provide the highest quality food, feed, and fiber in the world. mr. chairman, i have a much lengthier statement i'd ask unanimous consent to insert in the record. with that, i look forward to working with the conferees in the weeks ahead. >> so ordered. the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the
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gentleman from alabama. >> thank you. after five long years of waiting to get to this conference committee, i am very happy we're here to now try to resolve our differences between the house and senate farm bills. i'm also honored to be working with each one of you to try to craft a long-term piece of legislation to guide our nation's farmers and ranchers and give them the certitude they need. my home state is the home of over 48,000 farms, and we have over $1 billion in farm exports a year. so this is a pretty big deal to us. i'm honored they gave me an opportunity to be here and work on it. we strongly prefer to keep the usda food safety and inspection service catfish inspection program. in addition, the setting of target prices, which are vital to many alabama farmers. i also support giving the livestock industry relief from the troublesome mandatory country of origin labeling mandates. the negotiations we face will be
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tough, and i am certain that not any conferee is going to go home with everything they want. but it's important that we be responsible stewards of the taxpayers' dollars by maintaining the programs that are working and reforming those that don't. i believe we can work through these differences in a timely and bipartisan manner to achieve real results that will help our agriculture industry over the next five years. hopefully our efforts will demonstrate that congress can function on behalf of the greater good of our nation, and i look forward to working with each of you be. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio, senator brown. >> i thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate the leadership of senator stabenow, senator cochran and the doggedness of chairman lucas. the act of 2013 is a bipartisan reform bill that provides tangible and workable solutions that continue our commitment to the hungry, to rural communities
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and the land and saving taxpayers $24 billion. over the past two years, i've held a series of round tables, perhaps two dozen of them, in ohio where i've asked farmers to tell me what this year's farm bill should look like. ohio's farmers did more than give opinions. they came up with specific answers, gave me insight and guidance and valuable suggestions. they told me that they don't need and don't want direct payments, so i worked with my friend senator thune to improve the safety net and ensure farm production and planting decisions are determined by the market and not by the government program. simply put, ohio's corn and soybean farmers must have a program that decouples target prices from planted acres. that's why i strongly support the senate's commodity title. senate's rural development energy titles provide the mandatory funding and reforms needed to ensure that our nation's rural communities have the tools they need to succeed. the bill incorporates many portions of the local farms,
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food, and jobs act that will promote and increase local food production and sales. the bill also rightly links taxpayer support for crop insurance to farmers' land management practices and reduces premium support for those farmers who net over $750,000 per year. these are conservation practices that as senator harkin said most farmers are already doing. this is good bipartisan work. i expect we can resolve the differences around these farm programs. we always work these differences out in farm bills bipartisanly. what i'm most concerned about is whether the house -- that the house cuts to s.n.a.p. funding will prevent us from completing work on the farm bill that america's rural communities need. the house's indiscriminate s.n.a.p. cuts would harm literally millions of children and seniors and those with disabilities and many of those
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who hold low-income jobs and veterans. the house's provisions will cut s.n.a.p. payments simply because there aren't enough jobs out there. is that the kind of nation we are? are these the kinds of policies we need? is that what we stand for? our farmers feed the world. they're proud to do that. but the house is seeking to break a decade's old bond between farmers and those americans who are hungry. i look forward to working with my fellow conferees on a bill that follows the senate's title one reforms, that strengthens the farm safety net and that reaffirms this committee's long, bipartisan tradition of farm and food policy. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. wallace. >> thank you, chairman and to our ranking members, to all my colleagues for getting us to this point. i'd like to thank the staffers who for years have also worked to bring this and make it possible. and to those stake holders. this is truly a unifying piece
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of legislation, always has been and will be again. i think listening to the chairwoman a unified conference with a unified bill will go at least a little ways toward bringing back some faith and restore the american public's faith that we can govern. and we are a people of vision. we're a people of big vision. we think big ideas. this farm bill doesn't have to be the exception to that. we can solve the things we need to solve, but i think we need to look down the road. this bill gives us that opportunity. we have to look at those programs that support economic promise, economic growth. one of those last year, renewable energies on track to average 8.3% growth. those represent tens of thousands of american jobs. we spend over $1 billion a day importing oil from countries that hate us. they'll hate us for free. keep those jobs in janesville, minnesota. keep it on the land where we have things going. in the energy title, the demand far outstrips the supply. we have thousands of people
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waiting. when the market is fair and open, our producers are trying to access that. they're trying to do that. and so i encourage my colleagues to look what our colleagues in the senate did and get mandatory funding to this. it will come back to us economically. it will come back to us in jobs and national security. we also have to look long term in demographics. 9 billion people on the planet soon. that's a 60% increase in food that we need to have. the american farmer averages 57 years old. the average web producer is a little under 35. you can't eat websites. we've got folks that are coming that are going to have to do that. our policies make a difference on who's on the land. so i encourage my colleagues in both the house and the senate we have robust beginning farmer and rancher legislation that focuses on education and building the capacity for the future. it also does some smart things to have set asides in some of these programs to make sure a new person on the land can access those things. i would certainly encourage us to come together. we're very close on that.
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keep those programs in there. once again, that builds our capacity for the future. in looking at capacity for the future, the land is our truly great resource. our producers are some of the best stewards of the land. but just like in all other things, we need to give them the tools they need to preserve that land. we need to make sure that conservation title is fully funded and we look visionary on those working lands to make sure we're not making the choices for those producers. they have the right to make the choice that works best for them. but make it both economically smart and people have proven they will take advantage of that. i would like to compliment my colleague from south dakota, who has worked with us on sod saver legislation that i think is visionary on lands that haven't been broken yet. save $200 million. and also let us look at a whole other side industry on the land. outdoorsmen, hunters, fishermen, people who take advantage of that. it's a $3.5 billion industry in
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minnesota alone. we can come to compromises. we can have vision. we can think big. we can compromise. we can clothe the world. and we can fuel the world if we get our work done here. i would agree with my colleagues on this. we have no choice but to get this right. we have no choice but to come together. the good news is once we do it, the producers will do what they do best, feed, clothe, and fuel the world. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the distinguished je nan from arkansas, senator bose man. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure that you're all as relieved as i am to be here today, beginning a conference process that will complete the work of a farm bill that will continue providing the american people with the safest, most affordable, most reliable food supply that the world has ever known. the path has not been easy, and we still have some differences to work out, but this is the work that must be done. rural america, our farmers, fa
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ranchers, forestry, stake holders, manufacturers, retailers and the most vulnerable members of our communities are counting on us to provide the five years of certainty they need to plan for the future. of equal importance the immaterial pact this legislation has on our economy. in arkansas, agriculture provided over $17 billion in value added to our state's economy in 2011. it makes up more than 16% of arkansas's gdp. arkansas's agriculture is diverse. and we are in the top 25 states of production in 24 different commodities including rice, honey, and corn for blueberries. our nation, as a whole, has even more diversity in crops with grow. whether it's cherries in michigan, wheat from the great plains, peanuts from oklahoma in georgia -- actually, you can get
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peanuts from arkansas now -- or dairy from minnesota. this diversity requires a day versz set of risk management tools that meet the challenges that all of our producers face for every crop and region. crop insurance is an important tool for our farmers to manage the risk, but it's not the only one. other tools must be responsive from shallow losses and cognizant of deep to invest in the future, enable the next generation to enter farming and to provide opportunities for our veterans to work the land. we need to make sure that our research and scientific infrastructure is strong to protect our families and crops from bacteria, weather and disease. we need to make sure that our
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programs protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities maintain integrity and the support of the public while meeting the needs of those that they're designed to serve. we started this process years ago. and looking back, our differences are much greater than they are today. congressman lucas and ranking member senator peterson as well as the members of both committees, we are much closer to our goal of the five-year reaut riization of our critical programs ensuring food security for the most vulnerable families. i know that we will succeed in our efforts and i look forward to working with all of you to resolve any differences that may remain in doing the work thatfa agriculturers so deserve.
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>> mr. conaway? >> thank you, mr. chairman. nchtsd . >> i also want to let everyone -- i appreciate my colleagues in both chambers who have worked so hard to get us to this point, particularly the chairman, who's been challenged like j,obe in the old testmente. first, we are running and accumulating -- we are running dangerous deaf sits or accumulating debt that will never get paid off. cutting the budget needs to be one of our highest priorities. both have worked on legislation that deals with this issue in a small way to reduce plant spending over the life of this farm bill. the trouble is, even if we do pass this farm bill with significant savings, we're a very small slice of a huge budget problem. i am hopeful that other committees in congress will be able to follow the lead that
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both agriculture committees have set and followed our example. second, we better not screw up crop insurance. crop insurance has already been reduced by some $17 billion in spending since 2008. for my money, that's enough. crop insurance is about all my cutting farmers have left. everyone insurance proposal has been cut during these negotiations. so that is a fool'ser rand. third, we need a very strong commodity title. we've gotten this far in the farm bill process with zero thanks to the groups we've recklessly obsessed during this issue. they also need to know that they both use plants and acres while capping them at different
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levels. why are both chambers taking this approach? because we're tired of paying people who are not even farming. both bills address this probably by letting farmers grow whatever they want. we want to plak sure that the farm bill benefit that follow that is decision. we know from the official economic analysis that congress relies on this approach results in infinitesimal effect on planning decisions. about one tenth of one percent. we know that every single option on the table is treated the same desz piet the ret ricket to the contrary. no option has any advantage over any other options. if price/loss ratios do not pay out, the shallow loss programs will then be the targeted programs by the wt or brazil or perhaps others.
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with all due respect, farmer's groups are building a case for wto challenge against our country's foreign policies are not exactly exercising the wisdom of solomen. i'm not so much concerned about the plant spending that will be reduced, as is getting policy that is promote work and dignity in this effort. the house bill would return a food stamp policy to work in order to self food stamp benefits. i recognize that perception sometimes trumps reality to this town. but i hope we can settle while asking people to work the return for food stamp programs is not any form of cruel or unusual punishment. the dignity of work has long been a common theme throughout all the ages. finally, throughout the conference, i'll be working to avoid facing undue regulatory burdens.
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rep zen tich costa is to finally put the gypsa debate to rest, which as we now understand being a pretty fouled experiment. i look forward to a success chl treatment of this farm bill as we move forward in the next five years. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from minnesota. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i want to first thing our incredible chairman, senator stabinaw. she's just bringing us together. hundreds of votes on the senate floor. we did this the right way. chairman lucacsa, any friend of is a friend of mine. and, of course, representative peterson, when i first started running for the
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u.s. senate, i called representative peterson and asked if he'd sit down with me for half an hour. i drove four hours and he sat down with me for two hours and i had all of my charts and he finally just said put those away. all the farnlers want is a fair deal and stability and there's about 11 people in the country that really understand this and ten of them live in north dakota. i did that for you, hogan. and i quickly realized the other person was colin peterson. no matter where i go in our state, i'm always reminded of the critical role that agriculture plays on our economy. minnesota is number one in turkeys. we're excited about thanksgiving. we are number one in sweet corns and green peas and oats and we are number three in soybeans and number four in corn. we are also the home of some
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major agricultural committee that is care about this bill. co-ops like chs and land-o-lakes. so it malters to our entire state. being home last week, i think many of us learned that american people are sick and tired of people standing in the opposite corners of the boxing ring swinging punches. this is our opportunity to get something good out of the chaos to move forward and to do something good for the country. issues that i care about, first of all, something many people have raised, signed a bill in $24 billion in debt reduction. we see people that are not everyone from farm country looking at these bills. i think that's key. third, we have streamlined the conservation programs from 23 to 13. our numbers are very similar. i think that's important.
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representative walls and i introduced the senate that's in our bill that we're proud of. recognition of the importance of crop ininsurance to the program with the support of many groups, ingluding the narnl farmer's union, national corn growers. it was quite a group. and we look forward to working with the house on that. i know senator hogan will address some of the work we've done with conservation challenges like flooding. we also have limited dreblgt pachlts. we've formed the commodity program by strengtsenning some of the payment limits to make sure that the people eligible are farmers. not urban million theirs.
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and i and i also strongly support renewable energy as we look at our successful, reduced dependence on foreign oil. from 6 to-40%. there's something about biofuel that is have been very important to this change. the importance of the snap program. especially important is hard-working families and seniors still need to put food on the table. as you know, the senate needed much-needed reforms to the bill. we looked forward to working with you on this but i don't think is this is the time to make deep, deep cuts to the program. i'm just end with this, a call that i just got into my office over the weekend. and a guy named greg schwartz is a farmer down in lasora, minnesota. he was hard at work. he called from his combine.
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he left this message for us. we have been working on this farm bill for over two years now. we just want to get it done. farmers are working around the clock on this year's hashest. if you don't hear from us, it's not guilty because we don't care. it's wauz we have work to do. i think greg is right. i think the members of this committee have work to do. just as we have some deadlines coming in with the snows, we have a deadline. we want to get our bill done. we need to work as hard as those farmers and get something done for the people of this country. >> the gentle lady yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madame chairwoman, i appreciate the opportunity to be part of this conference. i can state as a relatively new member who makes up a third of the house of representative
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these days. the way we worked together, the deference we showed one another and the respect we showed one another was emblematic when i became a member of congress. i'd like us to remember that. there's a lot of way to get divided here. we have agreed on a great many things. our senate colleagues and our house eluded to many of these. we're doing some modernization of forestry. there's a host of thicks that i think we can agree on. we should emphasize those. we both agree that insurance is the way to go there. there is some concern about it being an open-ended trough, taxpayer experience and i expect this group to deal well with this issue in a thoughtful way.
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>> we had the same discussion going on with some of our nutrition programs. to be honest, the $40 billion figure, it's not a real figure. i don't think there's any member of this conference. it really believes that's a legitimate number. again, i look toward a more robust discussion. i think that's something that we should be able to figure out and work on at the end of the day. and then there's the crop insurance piece. that's a legitimate difference of opinion coming from the pacific northwest. i'll let my southern and midwest colleagues battle that one out. but i will point out, there are two poison pills on the house side version that caused me great concern. it's no longer germane. it wasn't germane to start with.
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that's restricting states to deal with one another. it's not constitutional. it's a commerce clause issue. that's easily not the jurisdiction of the ag committee. restricting the ability of products to be sold is a road we do not want to go down. the other one came up on the floor of the house with the ability of people to get nutrition assistance whether it's food stamps or whatever, but at this point in time, when many, many millions of americans are still going hungry, as a result of the greatest recession, they've spent their savings, nay eve lost their home. this is not a time to make sure that these folks are discriminated gernsz at the end of the day. i really feel that's the area of a different jurisdiction. las point i'd make.
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if we don't get this job done here, i can guarantee you our leaderships would be glad to get this job done. they do not know what you know about nutrition. if we do not reach an agreement emphasizing what we agree on, not what we disagree on we will lose control of the farm bill. i really think the ranking members. advocate for our jurisdictions and let's get on with it, folks. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from north dakota. >> thank you, mr. chairman. very pleased to be a member of this conference committee. i want to begin by thanking you and ranking member peterson adds where he will as chairman stabinaw.
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i'd like to express my thanks for your hard work. the work we're doing here is very important on behalf of our farmer's and ranches, no question bt it. this is important work for our country. good foreign policy benefits every single america. every american benefits. 16 million jobs, directly or indreblgtly, rely on ags culture and a positive balance of trade. this is absolutely the kind of work that we need to get done.
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we are general rating billions. when you combine that with a long-term farm bill, a five-year farm bill, you also generate economic growth. and that economic growth will not only help ri deuce the deficit as well, but it puts people to work: this is important work for all americans. lit's remember, this touches every single american in a very positive way. some of the keys i'd lieblg to em fa sies in this bim,en hansed crop insurance. i've heard from across my state that farmers and rampblers wanten hanszed com snurnsz. that's absolute lip a priority. we need to continue the sugar program, the livestock indemnity program for our producers. we need conservation rules that
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make sense in the house vergsz, you do not tie the conservation compliance to crop ininsurance. i think that that is the right approach. obviously, under the current program, thaen you're also tied to the conservation radioradiorequirements. where he need strong research for ag productions. we need to support those programs. >> the senator was kind enough to mention some of the work that we've done on a bipartisan basis. she's been an absolute leader in some of the conservation programs. this could make a real difference in terms of water
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management and a big difference to help prevent frooding. the last one i'll mention, we need to make it safe, eligible. this can make a huge difference for wildlife and for our sportsmen. it's a great program and i look forward to working on it with you. this benefits all americans. and i very much look forward to working with all of you to get this farm bill done for the good of oir country. >> the senator e yields back. >> my thanks to chairman lucas, ranking member kaufmann.
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this conference is long overdue. now, while we are one step closer to the end goal, most would agree we still have some heavy lifting before this conference. at the sub dmit tee, we have spent years along with the range of other issues under our preview. through this work, we've made improvements with a name towards efficiency and value. reforms under all three titles create savings wheel improving
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outcomes. both the house and senate address this manner through different means, it's my hope that we promote the health and well being as effectively as possible. the biopreferred language in title 9 or the forced products fairness act, has bipart zn su posht. this is a much-needed change. these are just a few small but key deferences that are deserving of the support. i'd like to make note of several differences in a broader bill, particularly under the dar ri
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and nutrition titlings. we must move towards a more market-based system. both the hus and senate bills shift to a margin insurance program. wrufr, there are some by partson concerns. i personally believe this is the wrong approach. these are serious issues. i'm hopeful that we can refrain from going gorns that role. i can assure you these are not -- i'm confident that we can find a compromise worthy of support from both par fis and chambers.
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thank you, mr. chair manl, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the sentle man from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i was worried, is the person that was dead last on this side, it meant that i was going to have to wait untim the very end. i appreciate it. i thank you for. i wroild have had a great education if you had kept me to the end. also, chairwoman stabino and your sustained ins for instance to be part of this. i join those who said that this is if way we should be doing our work in this congress. this is the ware that we are
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going to be able to regain the comforts to the american people, not guilty with the rock throwing and the where i can throughing and the screaming. the farmers and ranchers driving the cultural economy, it is critical that we work through our differences to complete this process. mr. chairman, if i could sum up what i've heard in the nearly 30 listening sessions i've had, the message is very, very simple. work fogt to give us the certainty of a five-year farm bill. we've identified priorities.
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we end the days, finally, of automatically issuing payments to farmers regardless of economic need. and we strengthen crop insurance to protect the farmers on eastern colorado plains that get stubbornly consistent drout cob conditions. our bill moves away from price production. our bill makes strategic investments in additional areas of innovation and growth. as others said, it provide industry-led rezerk and promotions. it's at a rate of four times the national average.
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mr. chairman, we need a strong conservation title with robust resources in the final bill. when disaster strikes, like the horrible floods that we're facing in colorado, itself programs that provide immediate aide. he's been something that's critical. this practical idea comes straight from colorado's farmers and ranchers. as for public lands conservation, we have the healthy sequestration act and
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there's a bipartisan senate agreement for extended colorado's good neighbor thorl stimfor us. and finally, mr. chairman, i've seen how firsthand are closely intertwined for our kids. with that, mr. chairman, i yield. thank you. >> senator yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlemen from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern? >> i want to thank you you for all of your hard work and dedication. i, too, want to thank the staff for the many hours of work that they feel put into this effort. let me say like the from the oud, i really want a farm will.
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being from massachusetts, there are many important parts of this father and mother bill that will impact my state and new eng larnd. they are especially critical for the part of the country that i represent. i'm also ploozed to see that the house and senate included langs waj for the loophole. both are preend thing. i urge hi colleagues to support these two provisions. i'd like to spend my remaining time on the issue of hunger. a $5 billion cut in snap will be
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$11 billion in just a few days. that's about 16 fewer meals per month. it's going to happen on friday. we have a hung r problem in this country. it's not fashionable to talk about it. but it's a fact. there's not guilty a single state in the united states of america that is hupger-free. >> it's hard to be poor. i regret to say that the house bill h bill, as written, would do just that. by cutting $40 million from
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americans who help put food on the table. thoo these are more than just statistics. let me remind every member of this committee, the majority of able-bodied results receiving snap do work. but they make so little that they still need to put food on their tables. those that don't work are struggling trying to find a job. it is uncan can can con shenble. let's be absolutely career. the house bill, with regard
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to knew trigsz, would make hunger worse in america. like everyone else, i want to see a robust comprehensive farm bill. i am willing to be flexible. i am willing to compromise. i am willing to be reasonable. our farmers deserve a farm bill. america desempbs a farm bill. the chair recognizes the gentleman from montana. senator? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. all of us spent last week in their home states with the people we work for. nay're not happy with what we're doing here.
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our chance is now. tomorrow, they will deliver their sfirs shipment. proud of that generosity is they shouldn't have to do it alone. hiss tor yan is a si it's one of the areas where i think we can all agree. our differences are stark. montana farmerings eers will be with yields than addressing two roles. neither of these would be effected. a farm level option is essential
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in large counties. where one farmer can get held unwhile it had a record year. influencing planting, vsh important decisions made across the country. there are many areas beyond title one. more than 70% of snap households have children. in the krichst country on earth, it's good to help children. we had distinct priorities. i expect all the rest of us to
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fight for the priorities in their home states. but if we listen more than we talk, we can produce a bill mpb can probably support. >> this is my sixth bill. i'm determined to leave montana with the sernlly nay can count on. our nation is watching. let's show them that congress can work for them. i can remember the 22008 farm bill. it was a wonderful con trens. wonderful. i learned a lot about avocados, apples. it was a very, very good session. we listened. we found trade-offs. we helped each other out in the best sense of the term.
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it was compromise. i must say, too, i'm reminded of the celebration yesterday of speaker tom foley. tom foley is one of the most wonderful persons i've ever had the privilege to know. i don't know anyone with more integrity, more intelligence, more grace, more decency, more hard-working than time: all i do is compromise. he cared about the fifth district in washington. but he really cared about finding solutions. i urge all of us to remember what we can do here and also remember that people are really fed up with us: we have the
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opportunity to do something here. >> thank you, mr. chairman and madame chair. it's an honor to join you and my other colleagues here today and to be a part of this conference committee. i'm confident that we can accomplish over the next few weeks that's good for our farmers and good for the american people. as we sit here today and begin these negotiations, cotton, pa nuts and other road crops are being picked in georgia. the harvest will soon be over. and, in a few months, farmers will begin preparations for the 2014 farm year. talking with their banks and securing operating loans. this would all be very difficult.
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to achieve this, we'll have to meet in the you shall shoes. there are a number of specific goals that i hope we can achieve together. first, as we all know, our country possesses an agriculture survey. as my grandfather always said, farm bills should always be for the bad times. not the good full-times. second, i know there's been contentious issues throughout our discussions. our focus should be on changing the coupleture of these rams. provide recipients where the lifeline when they need it most.
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after serving 14 years, i hope we can set these programs on a path for future state administration. ultimately, these programs should make the goal for temporary assistance while also helping those onto a path of self sufficiency and earned success. another issue in need of resolution is the national pollutant discharge ill lum nax system. the application of such pesticides has already been evaluated by the epa. if these kumpbt policies remain in place for such purposes that
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the d.e.a. has already deemed safe to use. over the past year, wtao has ruled in favor of challenges resolution of this is a necessity. again, i look forward to come to an dpreent and provide farmers and ranchers with another uncertainty. >> the e gentleman yields back. the chair would ask the care woman of the senate, my understanding is somewhere after the 5:00 hour, there's a po ten rnl for a vote in your body?
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>> yes, mr. chairman, that is correct. >> i would note to my colleagues that the ranking members will stay as long as they can, but that gives us a sense of urgency. >> thank you, mr. chair. i'm very pleased to be here and have the final conference officially starting today. i thank the chairs and the leadership from getting us here. agriculture employed hundreds of thousands of people. it's the nation's number one producer of red raspberry. passing a farm bill means healthy families and a held hi p thi e connie. i'm proud that we worked in a bipartisan manner.
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we didn't p didn't always agree, but we put politics aside to find solutions. settling for an extension is not good enough. it negatively impacts consumers in the economy. a comprehensive farm bill should include funding for specialty crops. we need to increase funding for programs like the specialty block rants which give us a great return on ourl investments. our final bill will support our local organic farmers. and the growing number of certified organic operations and the koun tril. we also must work to saifl the
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safety net. >> reforming a program is one thing. arbitrarily cutting a program and calling it reform is another. i blooeelieve we could find com ground necessary to be self su pisht. this is why i thought for the inclusion of funds that expand the drop training programs that have been so successful. in addition, the farm bill should include the dairy skurts act. i'm hopeful we can come together. washington depends on programs that open up new markets and support exports like the market access pranl and the foreign market development program.
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kplept examples of a profitable, public/private school vat sleeder ship. no company's business should be threatened. we must also avoid harmful amendments. for too long, our nax has been without a farm bill. we were sent to congress to add voep kate on behalve of our sifuations. farmers and families are depending on us. let's not ret them gown. let's work together and pass the five hch year farm will that our country needs. thank you, i yield back. >> if chair recognizes the woman from alabama. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i'm grate for rful to work on a sloigs for this very important bill. i also want to thank the staff
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of both kplit tees for all of your hard work over the past several years. for those years, we would work on moving that process forward. this farm bill is a legislative priority for the people of alabama srkd congressional sdigs treblgt. hum humorous town halls visiting with farmers tlouts my district. i'm proud that alabama is home to multiple land grand universities that play an important role in developing new farmer techniques and tech knowledges. thus this morning, i learned about their cutting edge research.
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we need the same protection for all types of commodities. we need an epa that helps farmer's comply with the necessary regulations and noet like joerj just pushing those. where indirect payments to farmers, we must transfer to an insnurnsz agency. our country also needs a nutrition policy that makes sensement food stampls have played and will continue to play an important role in taking our most needy americans. but the program exists to help lift those up who have hits
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bottom there. how many families can become self relient? mr. chairman,i know there are a number of differences, but i'm confident we can find common ground. as many have said here today in this room, we have had a very unique opportunity in this conference, committee, to prover that congress has not lost its ability to solve problems and make life work for americans. by working together, we can be the example to the rest of the congress. ll's show the nation that they can deliver. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the congressman from ohio. >> today, wed began the long, oefrl due farm conference. it will not be easy to recognize
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the difference between the senate and house bills. farnlers and families across the country deserve stability. as ranking member of the house subcommittee, i am verier in voice about the house bill. not only does it cut the snap to the tup of nearly $40 billion. it also only offers three years. the house bill ends the ability of states to three months of


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