Agriculture

Mandating the Hypothetical: EPA’s Cellulosic Biofuels Mandate

It is no secret that many federal regulations in the United States are ineffective and burdensome to the economy.  However, the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement for oil producers to purchase non-existent cellulosic biofuels may be the most absurd.

Farm Bill Should Buy the Farm

When is $24 billion not a lot of money? When it represents all the savings taxpayers can expect from the supposedly new-and-improved Farm Bill, formally known as S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, which may reach the Senate floor by mid-June. The bill, which was co-authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), outlines what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will amount to $969 billion in spending on commodity programs, rural development, farm credits, conservation, agricultural research, and nutrition programs, among others, from fiscal year (FY) 2013 to 2022.

Though Some Cuts Made, Farm Bill is still Flush with Waste

On June 21, 2012, the Senate voted 64-35 in favor of S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, which would cut the deficit by $23.6 billion over a ten year period. At first glance this seems like a lot of money, until you realize that the bill authorizes a total of $969 billion in spending for fiscal years (FY) 2013 to 2022, and that the $23.6 billion reduction represents just 2.4 percent annual savings or $2.36 billion per year over the coming decade. The legislation does eliminate some wasteful programs, such as the Average Crop Revenue Election program, direct payments, and counter-cyclical payments, but many profligate programs are left largely unreformed and new ones have been created.

Food Stamp Expansion and Fraud

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, has grown dramatically under President Obama’s administration. At the start of his term, in January 2009, there were approximately 32 million Americans receiving federal assistance from SNAP, costing more than $3.6 billion per month.

Another Failing Federal Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Electrification Administration (REA) program began during the New Deal Era of the 1930’s. The program’s primary goal was to promote rural electrification to farmers and residents in out of the way communities where, due to the high cost borne by utility providers, such investments were not considered feasible. By 1981, 98.7 percent of these homes and businesses received electricity and 95 percent received telephone service. Rather than declaring victory and closing its doors, REA was transformed into the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which expanded to provide loans for broadband communications to underserved areas of the country. Through the RUS program, the USDA acts as a credit agency that assists rural electric and telecommunications utilities obtaining financing, as well as administers nationwide water and waste loan and grant programs that are intended to improve the quality of life and promote economic development in rural America.

Dismantle the USDA’s Milk Marketing Order System

Reports on the progress of Congress’s Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in its quest to identify $1.2 trillion in savings by November 23, 2011 are decidedly mixed. An open hearing on October 26 yielded some hand-wringing, but little in the way of new information about the final outcome. An October 27, 2011 article in The Hill hints that the committee may be deadlocked.

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CAGW Names Rep. Elijah Cummings November 2017 Porker of the Month

Rep. Cummings is CAGW's November Porker of the Month for attempting to place price controls on prescription drugs.