There was some expectation the House and Senate Ag Committee leaders would release the details of their farm policy recommendations Friday. However, Friday came and went with no announcement. According to a spokesperson for the House Ag Committee the leaders had not yet reached agreement.
National Corn Growers Association Senior Director of Public Policy Sam Willett says if the Super Committee fails to do its job by Nov. 23 there could be problems even bigger than an automatic across-the-bard cut known as sequestration.
"If this process goes beyond or into next year there are no guarantees and the Farm Bill could be looking at something well beyond the amount required for sequestration," Willett said. "Consequently that was one of the reasons why an offer of $23 billion in cuts was submitted by the principals involved in these negotiations."
Willett says if the Super Committee drops the ball and the Farm Bill is kicked back to the Ag Committees with an across-the-board cut of some $14-billion that may not be the final number.
"If that process breaks down or the Super Committee isn't able to come to some sort of bipartisan agreement then we're back to a more regular order with the writing of the Farm Bill," Willett said. "With a much more thorough process that will invite even more comment and input over the course of next year."
And even if the Super Committee does come up with the mandated $1.2 trillion in cuts, Willett says there are still plenty of groups calling for even greater deficit reduction.
As for the timing for an agreement from the Ag Committee leaders in the next two weeks Willett believes that a Farm Bill recommendation will be completed before the deadline. Already on the chopping block is at least $15 billion worth of farm program payments, $4 billion in popular conservation programs, $4 billion in nutrition spending and some ag research funding.