Economist Analyzes Farm Bill to Kick Off College’s 2013-2014 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference Series

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As negotiations on the farm bill have adjourned until after a congressional recess, major differences still exist in the House and Senate versions of the bill, including several provisions in crop safety net programs, an economist at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences said.

Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist in the college’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), offered a comprehensive update of the 2013 farm bill process in a policy brief, which he presented to policymakers and others Nov. 25 during the college’s kickoff of its 2013-2014 Agricultural Policy and Outlook series.

The event initiates a series of county meetings to be held statewide through the end of 2013. Dates and times for the meetings can be found at event featured presentations from experts from AEDE who discussed issues the food and agricultural community should expect in 2014, including information on policy changes, key issues and market behavior with respect to farm, food and energy resources, and the environment.

Zulauf, who co-authored the brief with Jonathan Coppess, clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that while the rather large difference in the House and Senate proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, have received extensive media attention, there are many components of the legislation that are likely to cause debate among members of the conference committee.

In fact, the legislation’s farm safety net issues are likely to be just as divisive as the bill’s nutrition programs, Zulauf said.

“Experts believe the most divisive of the differences between the House and Senate commodities title (Title 1) is whether crop payments should be based on historical base acres planted to the crop or on current planted acres, followed by whether the reference price and income targets should be fixed by Congress over the life of the farm bill or whether they should follow the market up and down,” Zulauf said in the policy brief.

“Crop Insurance is becoming the core of the crop safety net,” he said. “It addresses risk between planting and harvest and is thus a single-year program. A key issue is what programs should be adapted to complement crop insurance while addressing multiple years of low prices and revenues.” 

To read Zulauf’s policy brief for the conference series, visit:


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Carl Zulauf