Under the draft, made public Friday by the Environmental Working Group, the acreage cap on the Conservation Reserve Program would be reduced over time from 32 million to 25 million. Reducing the cap would free land for crop production and ease pressure on feed prices, something livestock producers have long been pushing.
In the energy area, the draft recommends several cutbacks in government subsidies for ethanol, including elimination of subsidies for installing fuel pumps that can dispense a mixture of ethanol and gasoline. Livestock producers have been seeking a level playing field with subsidized ethanol producers as they compete for corn.
With the supercommittee’s work in limbo, the farm program recommendations seem moot in the short run. However, Congress still must write a new farm bill next year. And Friday’s recommendations are a logical place for the agriculture committees to start.