June 21, 2012 Senate Passes Farm Bill
The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill earlier this afternoon, voting to end direct payments and other subsidies to farmers, expand crop insurance and provide new funds to so-called specialty crop growers, according to a MarketWatch wire service report on the action.
The $500 billion, five-year legislation also cut the federal food stamp program, as part of $23 billion in budget cuts over 10 years.
In the end, 64 senators voted in favor of the measure, and the approval was bipartisan. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives.
“I am grateful for the Senate’s progress toward providing a reformed safety net for producers in times of need, supporting agricultural research and trade promotion, honoring World Trade Organization commitments, furthering the bio-based economy, conserving our natural resources, strengthening local and regional food systems, and promoting job growth in rural America,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “As the legislative process moves forward, the Administration will continue to seek policy solutions and savings consistent with the President’s Budget, and we are hopeful that the House of Representatives will produce a bill with those same goals in mind. Swift action is needed so that American farmers and ranchers and our rural communities have the certainty they need to continue strengthening the rural and national economy.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall praised the legislation’s passage.
“This legislation, as written, incorporates all NCBA priorities,” Woodall said in a statement. “Bottom-line, there is no livestock title, conversation programs – specifically EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) – are maintained and the research title is sustained. All this is done with more than $20 billion in savings to the American taxpayer.”
“We support this legislation and will continue working with the House to ensure amendments that would interject the federal government into production agriculture are left out of the legislation or soundly defeated,” Woodall said. “As we focus our efforts on working with the House Committee on Agriculture to ensure another version of this legislation that is positive for cattlemen, I must stress the importance of family farmers and ranchers being engaged in this process.”
The American Farmland Trust also applauded the passage of the bill, particularly a land easement component patterned after the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
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