The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Thursday voted to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a bipartisan farm bill authored by Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
The bill reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and emphasizing the need to strengthen risk management tools for farmers, saving billions of dollars. Overall, the bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion by eliminating unnecessary subsidies, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse.
The reforms allow for the strengthening of key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs. The measure will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
“The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 will save taxpayers billions of dollars while promising a safe and healthy national food supply,” Stabenow said. “By eliminating duplication, and streamlining and consolidating programs, we were able to continue investing in initiatives that help farmers and small businesses create jobs.”
Stabenow continued, “We now look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues in a bipartisan way to ensure we enact a farm bill this year before the current one expires. Agriculture supports 16 million jobs in our country, and it is absolutely critical to provide farmers the certainty they need to plan and grow by passing a farm bill this year.”
To view a copy of the bill, including the amendments that were accepted by the Committee, please visit the Senate Agriculture Committee website
Among key provisions, the bill:
- Eliminates Direct Payments while Strengthening Risk Management
Farmers face unique risks unlike other businesses. Weather and market conditions outside a producer’s control can have devastating effects. A risk management system that helps producers stay in business through a few bad seasons ensures that Americans always have access to a safe and plentiful food supply. The proposal:
- Eliminates direct payments. Farmers will no longer be paid for crops they are not growing, will not be paid for acres that are not actually planted, and will not receive support absent a drop in price or yields.
- Consolidates two remaining farm programs into one, and will give farmers the ability to tailor risk management coverage—meaning better protection against real risks beyond a farmer’s control.
- Strengthens crop insurance and expands access so farmers are not wiped out by a few days of bad weather.
- Consolidates and Streamlines Programs