On 24th October, Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of State for Agriculture, gave a speech on the challenges for the next Farm Bill, in Des Moines, Iowa.
The issues raised during this discussion are of fundamental importance because agriculture accounts for more than one job in 12 and has always been a highly strategic sector for the United States.
The challenges that the new Farm Bill must rise to are considerable: the high volatility of agricultural prices and increased food insecurity are among the most worrying. However, according to recent reports from the World Bank and FAO, the volatility of agricultural prices will continue to get worse, as the number of beneficiaries of U.S. food aid programs has increased by more than 75 % over the past decade, reaching nearly 50 million people in 2011.
It will be more difficult to rise to these challenges since a bipartisan group of Congress recently put forward to the "Super Committee", responsible for deficit reductions, a $23 billion budget cut in the Farm Bill over the next ten years. If this figure is not final, it gives an idea of potential budget cuts. So, as Tom Vilsack pointed out, we will "simply be doing more with less."
Many U.S. experts have criticized this proposal as it would significantly reduce Farmers’ protection devices in an increasingly turbulent international context: "sheer madness", as Clayton Yeutter former Secretary of State of Agriculture recently wrote in the New York Times.
Some proposals, such as that of the APAC, aimed at streamlining the efficacy of the Farm Bill budget while increasing farmers’ protection against price volatility have begun to emerge1. At a time when the CAP needs reform, it would be paradoxical that Europe is turning away from the regulatory mechanisms that have been the force of its policy while the United States plans to progressively introduce more of them....
1 See « Impacts of a farm policy do-over for historical 1998 to 2010 » : http://momagri.fr/UK/focus-on-issues/Impacts-of-a-farm-policy-do-over-for-historical-1998-to-2010_1005.html