Senate passes its version of farm bill
House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, (D-Minn.) said, “Today is an important step to having a farm bill in place before the current bill expires this fall. I give high marks to Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts who did an excellent job securing bipartisan support and bringing the bill one step closer to completion. I’m not on board with everything they’ve done but think that we’ll be able to work out our differences in conference committee.
“It is crucial that we finish the farm bill before the current bill expires in September. Waiting until the mess that will occur during the lame duck session will not only make it more difficult, but could also result in several unintended consequences. If the House Ag Committee passes a bipartisan bill in early July, House leadership will then have little choice but to bring the farm bill to the floor before the August recess. I’m continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and members of the Committee to make this happen.”
Chairman Frank Lucas said, "Although there will be differences between the Senate approach and our own, I hope my colleagues are encouraged by this success when we meet on the 11th to consider our own legislation. The House Agriculture Committee will consider a balanced proposal that saves taxpayers billions of dollars, recognizes the diversity of American agriculture, respects the risks producers face, and preserves the tools necessary for food production."
Agriculture groups issued announcements Thursday in support of the Senate’s passing of S. 3240. Most urged the House of Representatives to take up their version quickly.
In an interview with Mike Adams on AgriTalk Thursday, Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations for American Farm Bureau Federation, said the House was not likely to take up the issue until after the July 4th holiday. “It’s going to be difficult to get this bill done,” she told Adams.
Most groups were not happy with the move to link crop insurance with conservation compliance. Also, Thatcher said Farm Bureau was not pleased with moving the adjusted gross income limitation to $750,000.
One measure most commodity groups were supportive of in the Senate’s version was the funding for the Market Access Program remained intact. An amendment to reduce the funding from $200 million to $160 million was defeated.
Although nutrition spending did not increase, it did not lose money either, according to Thatcher. However, cuts are expected in the House version when the House takes up its version.