Senator Chambliss' Office Talks 2012 Farm Bill

Senior Editor Barbara Keiker

20 September 2011

In an unprecedented budgetary environment in Washington, uncertainty about
spending levels and timelines prevails.  Leaders of the House and Senate
agriculture committees are waiting on the deficit reduction super committee,
formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, to issue
a baseline number for Farm Bill spending before they begin to draft the 2012
Farm Bill.

“The process is still very fluid,” said Ben Mosely, legislative assistant
for agriculture for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).  “Committee staff is
reviewing various policy proposals from senators and farm groups, but it is
difficult to move forward without some direction from the super committee.
We don’t want to end up negotiating with ourselves.”

Sen. Chambliss is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry.  The Senate committee, chaired by Sen. Debbie
Stabenow (D-Mich.) will write the 2012 Farm Bill along with the House
Agriculture Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok.).  The
2012 Farm Bill is expected to be sent to President Obama before the fall
election.  It replaces the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in Sept. 2012.

The super committee has until November 23 to vote on a plan with $1.5
trillion in deficit reductions or automatic spending cuts kick in. According
to Mosely, it’s unclear when or how the super committee will issue spending

“We could write the Farm Bill in conjunction with the super committee or it
may be next year before we begin to write the bill,” he explained.
“Whatever the timing, our goal is to create a strong safety net for farmers
with whatever funding level is available.”

“We can’t say what the breakdown in spending will be between the various
programs funded in the Farm Bill, but we do know we will have to do more
with less.  The climate in Washington right now is to reduce, streamline,
consolidate and focus on ease of delivery.”

According to Mosely, Sen. Chambliss and his staff are engaged daily with
commodity groups in Georgia to formulate policy changes for the bill.
Additionally, the staff is engaged with other regions to mesh the interests
of Georgia farmers with those of other U.S. farmers.

“We’re waiting for a signal from the super committee and we’re getting ready
to react quickly,” Mosely said.

More information on Sen. Saxby Chambliss and his position on a variety of
issues relevant to Georgia farmers is available online at

Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-552-4461 / 706-540-0032
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