Some momentum appears to be building for re-writing the Farm Bill in 2013. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently filed S.10, which is the version of the farm bill passed by the Senate in 2012. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., applauded Senator Reid’s “leadership and commitment to getting a five-year farm bill done to provide certainty to the 16 million Americans working in agriculture.”
It is anticipated that a meeting will soon occur between House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.. The meeting is in response to a letter Ranking Member Peterson sent last month to Speaker Boehner demanding a commitment of floor time for the farm bill before he would begin working on the bill in committee.
Meanwhile, the agriculture committees in both chambers continue to organize. The House Agriculture Committee recently held its first organizational meeting and announced leadership and subcommittee membership for the committee’s five subcommittees. Serving as chair and ranking member on the Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry will be Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Penn., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., respectively. A full list of subcommittee members can be found here.
Activity continues to grow surrounding climate change and renewable energy. A recently formed bicameral Task Force on Climate Change will be headed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D – R.I., and Representative Henry Waxman, D – Calif. The task force will be dedicated to focusing Congressional and public attention on climate change and developing effective policy responses, and will be open to all other Members of Congress interested in collaborating on this issue. American Farmland Trust expects engagement with the task force in the weeks ahead.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its volumetric requirements for renewable fuels proposed for 2013 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). The total renewable fuels requirement proposed is 16.55 billion gallons or 9.63 percent. The proposal is open for a 45-day public comment period.
About the Author: Jeremy Peters is Director of Federal Policy at American Farmland Trust.