Specifics remain fuzzy, but following a week of vigorous debate the House and Senate Agriculture Committees agreed to a farm bill that was submitted to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction or “super committee” on Friday.

As of late Friday, what is known, according to an overview from the Senate Agriculture Committee:

  • Direct payments eliminated.

Direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, the ACRE and SURE programs are on the way out.

  • Crop insurance strengthened.

Underserved crops, including fruits and vegetables, will be eligible for the program. County transitional yields will increase for Actual Production History (APH). The program will also create a stand-alone revenue protection program for cotton growers and allows for expanded supplemental area-wide revenue coverage for all other producers.

  • Simplified risk management.

Farmers will have access to a risk-based coverage program, the Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) program, to protect against both price and yield losses. The Marketing Loan Program will remain except for changes to the cotton portion – needed to comply with the Brazil/WTO case.

  • No payments from Title I programs to “any person or entity” with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) more than $950,000.
  • Individual producers may not receive payments in excess of $105,000 from the ARC program.

For more details, see here.

Following the farm bill submission, Bowen Flowers, 2011 president of Delta Council, said “We want to express our appreciation to Congressional leaders from the House and Senate, especially Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who negotiated provisions that are critical to Southern agriculture.”

A Delta Council release said the legislation “includes the cotton STAX proposal for cotton and the option of a target price or revenue-based program for rice, corn, soybeans, wheat, and peanuts. 

“’In view of the deep cuts which were made in the commodity title and conservation title of the farm program, the House and Senate negotiators took the recommendations from commodity groups and did the best they could do to draft a reasonable and yet fiscally responsible national farm policy,” added Flowers.

A National Cotton Council statement reads, in part: “The current proposal includes a new crop insurance program for upland cotton. The program, known as the Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), is based on NCC recommendations.

“’The Agriculture Committees have crafted a responsible set of farm programs that meets the target for deficit reduction and maintains vital safety nets for production agriculture,’ said NCC Chairman Charles Parker, a Missouri cotton producer.

“STAX provides an income safety net by making available for purchase an affordable revenue-based crop insurance program consistent with crop insurance delivery and complementary of existing crop insurance programs. Specifically, STAX would address shallow revenue losses on an area-wide basis with producer premiums offset to the maximum extent possible using available cotton program spending authority.

“The NCC believes the STAX structure will: 1) best utilize reduced budget resources, 2) respond to public criticism by directing benefits to growers who suffer losses resulting from factors beyond their control, and 3) build on existing crop insurance -- thus ensuring no duplication while offering program simplification potential. In addition, cotton faces the unique constraint of satisfying the longstanding trade dispute with Brazil. Coupled with the discontinuation of cotton’s counter-cyclical payment program and adjustments to the level of the upland cotton marketing loan, the NCC believes a crop insurance delivery system addresses the Brazil case findings. These cotton program revisions are scheduled to go into effect for the 2013 crop year.”