HTML _ 96-165 - Conservation Provisions in S. 1541 and H.R. 2854
6-Mar-1996; Jeffrey Zinn; 6 p.

Abstract: Pressure has been growing for Congress to pass farm legislation since President Clinton vetoed the omnibus reconciliation proposal (H.R. 2491), which included an agricultural title, on December 6, 1995. Farmers want to know their federal commodity program options as they start to make planting decisions. Farm programs supporters fear the negative budgetary and political consequences if farm programs revert to permanent legislation and program costs grow. Responding, the Senate passed omnibus farm legislation on February 7, 1996 that contain numerous conservation provisions (S. 1541). Some of these provisions were the subject of extensive discussions in the first session, while others surfaced for the first time during Senate floor action. Several of these provisions were proposals in the Clinton Administration's farm bill guidance, issued in May, 1995. Because S. 1541 went directly to the floor, there is no committee report and no official budget analysis by CBO. Without these documents, it is difficult to determine the bill sponsors' intent and the bill's fiscal impacts. The House passed omnibus farm legislation on February 29, 1996 (H.R. 2854). Conservation provisions reported by the Agriculture Committee were replaced by two floor amendments. The House-passed conservation provisions are less extensive than those in the Senate. (One reason they are less extensive is that Chairman Roberts introduced ¨Farm Bill II¨ (H.R. 2973) on February 27, 1996, which contains numerous non-commodity program provisions, including the conservation provisions that had been reported in H.R. 2542 by the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Resource Conservation, Research and Forestry on November 8, 1995. Chairmen Roberts has stated that he intends to push for passage after action is completed on the pending farm bill; Senate agricultural leaders have said that they plan to enact only one farm bill this year.) This report briefly describes the major conservation provisions in the bills passed by both Chambers. For an overall comparison of provisions in H.R. 2854 and S. 1541 as passed, see CRS Report 96-206 ENR, Farm Bill Provisions Compared: H.R. 2854 and S. 1641 as Passed. For information on conservation provisions in H.R. 2542, see CRS Report 95-1106 ENR, Conservation Titles in the 1995 Farm Bill: A Comparison. [read report]

Topics: Agriculture

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