"This bill reflects a lot of hard work and conscientious effort to help strengthen American agriculture and assure consumers of food and fiber that it is nutritious and affordable," said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. "The reforms, savings and other significant changes in this agreement will provide greater certainty to producers and rural communities, as well as American consumers. It deserves to be considered and enacted as soon as possible."
Enacting the Agricultural Act of 2014 will reform agriculture programs, reduce the deficit, and help farmers, ranchers and business owners grow the economy. The legislation:
• Repeals the direct payment program and strengthens risk management tools
• Repeals outdated programs and consolidates duplicative ones, eliminating nearly 100 programs or authorizations
• Helps farmers and ranchers create jobs and provides certainty for the 16 million Americans working in agriculture
• Strengthens conservation efforts to protect land, water and wildlife for future generations
• Maintains food assistance for families while addressing fraud and misuse in SNAP
• Reduces the deficit by billions of dollars in mandatory spending
Ends Direct Payments, Strengthens Risk Management
The Agricultural Act of 2014 reforms farm programs and saves taxpayer dollars by ending direct payments and other farm programs. The bill provides risk management tools that help American farmers and ranchers survive weather disasters and market volatility.
The bill also strengthens crop insurance, which is an essential cost-effective risk management tool. With crop insurance, farmers invest in their own risk management by purchasing insurance policies so they are protected in difficult times. Crop insurance also helps protect Americans from spikes in food prices. Without crop insurance farmers would have no way to recover from disaster unless the government steps in and provides unplanned disaster assistance. The effectiveness of crop insurance was underscored during the historic droughts of 2012, which impacted more than 80% of the country. Crop insurance protected farmers without the need for an emergency disaster relief bill.
Additionally, the bill provides a permanent livestock disaster assistance program for producers affected by natural disasters, and also covers producers who were affected by recent droughts, winter storms that hit the Northern Plains last year, and spring freezes that affected fruit growers in the Midwest.