Senate passes its version of farm bill
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved the 2012 Farm Bill, “The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012” Thursday, June 21 in a vote of 64-35, much to the approval of several large commodity organizations such as the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association. However, southern crop groups felt largely ignored by the Senate's version.
The National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association congratulated the Senate on passage of Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (2012 farm bill).
NCGA has advocated for an affordable crop insurance program as well as a farm program that would provide risk management tools to growers when they are facing a loss beyond their control. NCGA has also encouraged farm policy reforms that will be responsive to taxpayers and effective in helping farms remain viable and productive.
"ASA is extremely pleased with the Senate's legislation, which would establish an effective risk management program for soybean producers that complements crop insurance, consolidate conservation programs, and have agriculture do its fair share to help address our nation's fiscal situation by reducing government spending on agriculture by $23 billion," said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb. "We look forward to working with the House Agriculture Committee as it finalizes its version of this legislation, so the 2012 Farm Bill can be completed this year."
Citing concerns on how Louisiana farmers would negatively fare under a new, five-year Senate farm bill, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., voted against the legislation. The bill would have drastic consequences for Louisiana’s rice farmers and require them to take a larger cut in assistance than any other commodity. More than 2,000 rice farmers call Louisiana home, and the rice industry generates $638 million in economic activity for Louisiana each year. Louisiana’s farmers and ranchers generated $10.7 billion in economic activity last year alone.
“Few states in the country produce as many diverse crops as we do in Louisiana. We needed a farm bill that supports all of our farmers. This bill didn’t, and that’s why I voted against it. Farming is more than a business, it is more than a job; it's a way of life,” Sen. Landrieu said. “I support efforts to reform and improve federal farm programs. However, unlike other commodities that take a 30 percent average reduction under this bill, rice farmers are asked to take a 65 percent reduction. Without an adequate safety net that can actually catch our rice farmers if they fall, the rice industry in Louisiana as well as the entire infrastructure on which it is built will fail. I hope that as the farm bill travels to the House, the farm provisions dealing with rice are improved.”