Resolved: That the United States should substantially change its federal agricultural policy.

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Source: Feedstuffs, Jan 31, 2000 v72 i5 p23.

Title: USDA to seek extra funding for 2001.(Brief Article)
Author: ED MAIXNER

Full Text COPYRIGHT 2000 Rural Press Limited

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman is planning to ask
Congress for additional billions of dollars to spend in fiscal 2001 when he
and other department heads unveil their budget requests next week.

Most of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's budget remains under lock and
key, but USDA and the White House have leaked some items, especially on new
spending ideas for which they want public support. So far, it's known that
USDA's budget will include the following:

* Conversion of the pre-set, declining Agricultural Marketing Transition Act
(AMTA) farmer payments to "countercyclical" support that increases when
commodity prices fall. Payments would be tied to farmers' income and targeted
to small-and mid-sized operators. USDA officials have said the change might
add more than $3 billion to the $4.1 billion already authorized for 2001 AMTA
payments.

* Funds to hold the soybean loan rate for this year's crop at the $5.26/bu.,
the maximum allowed by law, rather than let it decline according to a
prescribed market-price formula.

* A probable increase in funds for commodity loan deficiency payments.

* $600 million for a "new" Conservation Security Program under which farmers
would draft and implement specific soil and water conservation programs for
their farms. Conceptually, this is very similar to the Conservation Farm
Option that Congress authorized four years ago but USDA has never implemented.

* $125 million additional funds for the "continuous sign-up" of the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), focused on development of grassed "buffer
strips" and "filter strips" to protect waterways, plus authorization for USDA
to contract up to 40 million acres of farmland into the CRP program overall.
Congress authorized 36.4 million acres four years ago, but USDA has not
contracted more than 31 million so far.

* $550 million to boost funding for other major conservation and environmental
programs, including the Farmland Protection Program, Environmental Quality
Incentives Program and Wetlands Reserve Program.

Details of the budget are to be announced Feb. 7.

 
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