Peanut and rice producers, with tacit support from their cotton and sugar brethren in the South, continue to tell Senate agriculture leadership they’re not happy with the committee-approved package, meaning it’s unlikely the bill will get floor time until they are.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) told one publication this week, “They don’t like change, but the change is coming…we spent hours and hours and hours and hours” talking about the bill, but no solutions have been reached, and she continues to urge southern crop producers to bring ideas to the table.
She acknowledged the bill has provisions for peanuts and rice producers, but said right now, “the ball is in their court to help us” with ideas.” She said the big hurdle is that rice producers particularly do not want to surrender their direct payments, but she said that’s a non-starter in discussions.
Southern rice producers say they want congress to set a “target” or reference price below which a payment would be forthcoming, but that’s effectively maintaining the direct payment, she said. Stabenow allowed the House bill will likely have some form of target pricing, but not direct payments, saying the issue will have to be worked out in conference.