Corn and soybean farmers applauded this approach, which would help maintain their current economic prosperity, while Southern growers of rice, cotton and peanuts prefer the more traditional counter-cyclical payments under which target prices are set and farmers are compensated when those prices aren't reached. The draft eliminates counter-cyclical payments but does create a revenue guarantee program for cotton.
Craig Cox, senior vice president of Environmental Working Group, also criticized the plan for replacing direct payments with the new revenue guarantee program and said his organization was disappointed the plan "failed to require that farmers protect wetlands, grasslands and soil health in exchange for insurance subsidies."
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said his office was reviewing the bill and said he was optimistic lawmakers would try to pass legislation. "Farmers, ranchers and the men and women who live in rural communities deserve to know what the rules will be moving forward."
If no deal is reached by September, Congress will need to extend the existing bill, and that too will not be easy. "I strongly suspect there will be some kind of penalty price to be paid," said Mary Kay Thatcher of the American Farm Bureau Federation, saying that that could come in the form of cuts to direct payments or food stamps.
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