Johanns Confident About Farm Bill Plan

US - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns wrapped up three days of non-stop push on his farm-bill plan, confident that his proposal will leave a large footprint on the 2007 farm-bill debate.
calendar icon 8 February 2007
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Speaking to members of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Friday at the group's annual convention, Johanns said he did not think any particular part of his plan would be in "jeopardy" when considered by Congress, though he acknowledged there will be regional challenges that may prevent such things as reducing payments to a $200,000 cap with a phase-out for higher-income farmers.

"We certainly recognize when we talk about payment limitations, for example, you are going to get folks out there, especially in Southern states, that those two words, they just don't like them," Johanns said. "They don't like payment limitations. So obviously you deal with some of those issues."

After unveiling his proposal Wednesday, Johanns spoke in California, Iowa and Mississippi, and held a television forum Thursday night in Nashville. All the while, pundits have been picking apart the proposal looking at pros and cons.

Former Congressman Charlie Stenholm, a key player in the 2002 farm bill, commended Johanns' farm-bill proposal. The plan is well put together and will be used by the Senate and House Agriculture Committees when they build their plans and contrary to some comments, the administration's farm bill plan is not "dead-on-arrival" as some suggest, Stenholm said.

"Again, this is the beginning," said Stenholm, who will work as a lobbyist for livestock groups on the farm bill. "Presidents propose, Congress disposes and in this case, I think the secretary and his folks' efforts have been very helpful. Writing the farm bill has never been easy and the '07 farm bill is going to be one of the toughest ever."

Source: Journal
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