Veneman names Mississippian to payment limits panel

Veneman’s appointments are William Spight, a farmer from Ripley, Miss., Edward Smith, an agricultural economist from Bryan, Texas; and Alice Devine, an attorney from Topeka, Kansas.

“These members represent a broad cross-section of agriculture,” said the secretary. “Together they will provide valuable insight as members of this commission.”

Spight has farmed near Ripley since 1960 and raises soybeans, corn, hay and livestock. He has served on the Farm Service Agency’s Mississippi State Executive Committee for five years.

Smith is associate director for Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences for the Texas Cooperative Extension Service. He is the author of numerous papers on farm policy and farm programs

Devine is currently vice president and general counsel for the Kansas Livestock Association. Prior to this, she served as Kansas secretary of agriculture.

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 established the commission as part of the compromise worked out in the House-Senate conference committee on the farm bill’s payment limit language.

The law requires that a total of 10 members be appointed as follows: three members by the Secretary of Agriculture; three members appointed by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; and three members appointed by the House Agriculture Committee.

USDA’s Chief Economist also will serve on the Commission. Secretary Veneman will appoint one of the 10 members to serve as chairperson.

On July 5, 2002, USDA announced that it was accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Commission.

The Commission is expected to study the potential impacts on farm income of further payment limitations on the receipt of direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments.

In addition, the Commission will evaluate how further payment limitations on the receipt of the specified payments would affect land values, rural communities, agribusiness infrastructure, planting decisions of producers, supply and prices of covered commodities, loan commodities, specialty crops (including fruits and vegetables) and other agricultural commodities. Payment limitations refer to the maximum amount of certain farm program benefits that a person can receive by law.

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