Many believe time is running out for the leaders of the Senate and House Ag Committees to get a farm bill to the deficit reduction Super Committee. The group of 12 Senators and Representatives has until Nov. 23 to craft a package that finds $1.2 trillion in budget savings over the next 10 years. The ag leaders suggested $23 billion could come from agriculture and are now working to craft the legislation that can deliver that savings.
Ag and commodity groups are watching the process closely for a variety of reasons. National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall says his group has one main focus.
"Our priority it to eliminate the livestock title, just take the whole thing out," Woodall said. "The last one gave us this GIPSA rule, it also gave us mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, things that have not been beneficial for cattle producers, so that is our goal and right now it looks like we'll probably be pretty successful in making that happen."
Woodall says the ticking clock could actually help get this accomplished.
"They want to work as fast as possible and if you can take a whole title off the table that saves them a lot of time," Woodall said. "Those are typically pretty controversial issues so if they can eliminate the controversial issues then it's even better so I think we are going to have a real positive result on our request."
Woodall believes there's another very convincing reason for eliminating the livestock title as well.
"The Human Society of the United States has always wanted to engage in the farm bill," Woodall said. "A livestock title gives them basically the playground to do that. So if we eliminate it we can box them out of ever trying to dictate production practices, too."
According to Woodall, House Ag Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has taken NCBA's suggestions under advisement, but hasn't made any commitments. Given the monetary issues that must be addressed Woodall says that's understandable.