Update: On Tuesday evening Senate Agriculture Committee leadership agreed to postpone the expected Wednesday mark-up of its draft farm bill. 

“The Agriculture Committee has made significant progress and have bipartisan agreement on the bulk of the farm bill," said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, committee chairman.  We are committed to continuing to work together in a bipartisan way as we come to agreement on a few outstanding issues.  This is a bill that impacts 16 million jobs and a huge sector of America’s economy, and it is important that we move prudently to create the best possible product.”

A new date and time for the rescheduled hearing will be announced shortly.

While the 2012 farm bill draft released by the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 20 has received praise from some farm organizations, the bravo chorus is certainly lacking a Southern twang.

For more, see here and here.

With the committee expected to begin a mark-up of the proposed legislation this week, over 40 farm/commodity organizations (scroll down for the full list of signees) sent a letter on Monday asking for a delay. The letter reads:

“We write to respectfully urge you to postpone Wednesday's scheduled markup until at least after the upcoming recess in order to provide (committee) members and producers an opportunity to better understand the markup vehicle and its implications and to offer constructive suggestions for improvement.

“We greatly appreciate your efforts to ensure a transparent process by making the legislative language available to the public. Given that the farm bill will greatly impact a very important economic sector, fully understanding the legislation is vitally important.

“We first became privy to the substance of the mark on Friday afternoon when we understand members of the committee were also provided legislative language. We understand that members have only had the weekend in which to digest the more than 900 page bill, consult with their producers, understand the mark's implications, craft any amendments, identify appropriate offsets, and obtain a score from the Congressional Budget Office. We are concerned that this timeframe simply has not allowed for a meaningful opportunity to understand the mark or to offer constructive improvements. We believe providing additional time for committee members and producers to consider the mark and offer suggestions for improvement would contribute to a more transparent process and hopefully result in the best possible product.

“In regard to substance, our first blush impression is that the mark raises serious equity issues and grave concerns over planting distortions. We share in the committee's strong desire to produce an equitable bill that avoids the scenario in which the farm bill is driving planting decisions. By providing additional time for members and producers to fully analyze all the impacts of the proposal, the committee can help avoid this result.

“Again, we urge you to postpone the markup until at least after next week's recess to offer members and producers and others a more transparent and meaningful process that can ultimately lead to the best bill possible.

“Sincerely,

Southern Peanut Farmers Federation

Western Peanut Growers Association

National Cotton Council

National Sorghum Producers

US Rice Producers Association

USA Rice Federation

Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association Oklahoma Farm Bureau

Mississippi Farm Bureau

Texas Corn Producers

Texas Wheat Producers

Texas Grain Sorghum Association

Oklahoma Sorghum Association

New Mexico Grain Sorghum Association

Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Colorado Corn Growers Association

Georgia Corn Growers Association

Texas Soybean Association

Missouri Rice Producers Group

Arkansas Rice Federation

Louisiana Rice Producers Group

Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group

South Carolina Peach Council

Georgia Peach Council

American Peanut Sheller’s Association

Georgia Peanut Commission

Mississippi Peanut Growers Association

Florida Peanut Producers Association

Alabama Peanut Producers Association

New Mexico Peanut Growers Association

Oklahoma Peanut Commission

Panhandle Peanut Growers Association

Texas Peanut Producers Board

National Peanut Buying Points Association

Additional signatories:

Georgia Farm Bureau

Arkansas Farm Bureau

North Carolina Peanut Growers Association

Virginia Peanut Growers Association

South Carolina Peanut Growers Association

United Peanut Alliance

Southwest Council of Agribusinesses

Colorado Sorghum Producers

Louisiana Rice Growers Association