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CBO Releases Cost Estimate for House Ag Committee-Passed Farm Bill

Congressional Budget Office estimates Farm Bill will fall short of projected $40B in deficit reduction

Published on: May 24, 2013

The Congressional Budget Office Thursday released its cost estimate for the 2013 House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill, finding it would offer approximately $33.3 billion in direct spending reduction over 10 years.

The overall total falls short of the $40 billion the committee estimated when the House Farm Bill draft was released in early May, though CBO's May 10 estimate was relatively the same.

Additional costs to private-sector would be incurred in the committee-passed bill, CBO said, due to dairy, olive oil and industry research mandates.

Specifically, dairy handlers would incur costs as high as $100 million or more annually as a result of USDA reporting for the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. That figure, CBO said, could depend on what final regulations are issued.

Congressional Budget Office estimates Farm Bill will fall short of projected $40B in deficit reduction
Congressional Budget Office estimates Farm Bill will fall short of projected $40B in deficit reduction

Another provision of the bill, which would require imported olive oil to meet the same standards as U.S. olive oil if a marketing order is established, could amount to "tens of millions" in inspection costs, CBO said. This is due to the thousands of lots of olive oil that are imported annually.

Finally, if the USDA and an industry referendum approves it, the Farm Bill would expand the list of commodities eligible for federal research and promotion programs. That provision, CBO said, would amount to "tens of millions of dollars annually."

CBO estimates that the amendment offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to limit states' ability to enact laws that place conditions on means of production of agricultural goods would not result in additional spending.

The Senate's cost estimate, based on their Farm Bill passed out of committee, indicates that it would reduce direct spending by $17.8 billion.

Click to read the full CBO report on H.R. 1947.