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Richard Schlosser, Published January 28 2012

Rep. Rick Berg confronts self-made farm bill dilemma

Many of us involved in agriculture appreciated House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas’ recent visit to North Dakota (at Congressman Rick Berg’s, R-N.D., request) to listen to farmer and rancher concerns about the upcoming farm bill debate.

That said, the real challenge facing both Lucas and Berg is passing a farm bill that addresses those concerns within the context of the House-approved Ryan budget proposal containing $177 billion in farm bill cuts. Ironically, most of the discussion during the Lucas visit dealt with the failed “supercommittee” proposal containing farm bill cuts of only $23 billion. The real question is, what will it cost agriculture to pass a farm bill with $177 billion in cuts?

Given the current state of the farm economy, can this Congress defend modest commodity title cuts, while cutting nutrition programs by the $100 billion contained in the Ryan proposal? As Congress writes the 2012 farm bill, will this proposal jeopardize safety- net provisions, support for crop insurance, research, conservation, or support for the sugar program? Who knows?

Yes, a dilemma, but to be fair, a dilemma of their own making because both Berg and Lucas voted for Congressman Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., farm bill cuts of $177 billion.

Schlosser farms in the Edgeley area.