Ag panel examines USDA's efforts implementing reforms in the Agricultural Act of 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, Rep. K. Michael Conaway, held a hearing to examine the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as it implements the new commodity and crop insurance titles of the Agricultural Act of 2014, otherwise known as the farm bill.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 made sweeping reforms to the commodity title repealing several programs and providing producers with an option between Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC). Neither option triggers unless the producer suffers a significant loss. The farm bill also improved crop insurance, which now serves as the core risk management tool for producers when disaster strikes.

Members of the Subcommittee questioned USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse on the status of implementing key provisions.

"I commend USDA's initial efforts to implement the Agricultural Act of 2014 and I challenge them to fully deliver on the promises made to our farmers and ranchers in the law. Specifically, USDA must make it a priority to implement the Actual Production History (APH) adjustment because it provides critical relief for producers who have struggled with severe and devastating drought conditions for the past four years. Producers suffering from a drought shouldn't have to wait until the third year of a five-year farm bill to receive relief, particularly when Congress intended for it to be available immediately. Under Secretary Scuse told us today he is committed to exploring partial implementation of this provision and will provide the committee with details about potential timelines. That is encouraging and I look forward to hearing those details. It is crucial we work together to resolve some of these issues so that our producers have the necessary information to make plans for their farming and ranching operations," Conaway said.

"I am very pleased with the hearing today. Under Secretary Scuse was able to provide a critical update regarding the implementation of Title I and XI. It is vital that every valuable piece of information is disseminated to our farmers in a timely manner so that they are able to make the most educated decision regarding their respective crop insurance program. I look forward to working closely with the USDA as we continue to implement the farm bill," said Ranking Member David Scott.