Starting in a few days, the House Agriculture Committee will begin holding field hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill. These hearings are scheduled as follows:
Date: Friday, April 30, 1 p.m.
Place: Iowa State Fair Grounds, Penningroth Sale Center, Des Moines, Iowa
Date: Saturday, May 1, 1 p.m.
Place: Northwest Nazarene University, Old Science Lecture Hall, Nampa, Idaho
Date: Monday, May 3, 9 a.m.
Place: Fresno City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, Fresno, Calif.
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 8 a.m.
Place: Laramie County Community College, Center for Conferences and Institutes, Centennial Room 130, Cheyenne, Wyo.
More information can be found on the Committee’s website: http://agriculture.house.gov/index.shtml, and the meetings will be streamed live. Witness lists are forthcoming.
The first event, in Des Moines, will be hosted by Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA-3rd, D) and led by Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7th, D), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. These sessions are open to the public and designed to benefit the farmers who will be directly impacted by the outcome of the Bill. The witness list for this first event will be available online by the 29th.
This follows the April 20th Agriculture Committee hearing on the 2012 Farm Bill, featuring Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. One of the centerpieces of Vilsack’s vision for the USDA, rural broadband access, was criticized by some members of the Committee, who prefer that that funding be used for direct crop subsidies and other more traditional uses. Crop insurance reform was another topic of great interest, as well as the lapsed tax incentive for soy biodiesel. Currently, the Committee plans to pass the next farm bill in 2012, but several members have acknowledged that it may be done early, in 2011, if an opportunity for reconciliation arises.