The House Agriculture Committee has adopted the budget views and estimates letter. This letter - which outlines the committee’s budget recommendations for the agencies and programs under its jurisdiction for fiscal year 2014 - will be submitted to House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan. House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson write that the Ag Committee is dedicated to ensuring the federal government continues to promote policies and risk management tools that will keep American agriculture and rural communities strong. They add that the agriculture sector wants to be a part of the solution to the nation’s debt crisis - noting that the current fiscal crisis will harm the agricultural sector, rural America and the country as a whole if not addressed.
According to the letter to Ryan - the Committee believes the best way to achieve deficit reduction is in the context of the reauthorization of the farm bill with sustainable and fiscally responsible reforms. Lucas and Peterson write that the main focus for the Agriculture Committee this year will be reauthorizing the farm bill and improving on the product the Committee passed last year. That measure - they note - identified 35-billion dollars in net savings while simultaneously reforming policies and providing risk management tools for the nation’s agricultural producers.
Lucas and Peterson believe another way to reduce the deficit is to grow the economy. To that end - they state the Committee will continue its oversight of regulations that affect jobs and the economies of rural communities. They point out that production agriculture has served as a catalyst of economic growth during some of the worst economic times in the last 50 years. The Ag Committee leaders go on to write that while American agriculture would be greater than all but about 30 of the world’s economies based on the value of goods produced alone if it were its own country - the farm safety net now constitutes less than one quarter of one percent of the federal budget. They say the committee looks forward to continued hearings and input from members to achieve the most fiscally responsible farm bill.