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With the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, the era of direct payments is over. Instead of subsidies that pay out every year even in good times, the bill creates risk management tools that support farmers when they are negatively impacted by weather disaster or market events beyond their control.
By ending unnecessary subsidies, streamlining and consolidating programs and cracking down on abuse, the bill reduces the deficit by billions. Passing the farm bill will yield a total of $23 billion in cuts to agriculture programs (including cuts made due to the sequester). Twenty-three billion dollars is over double the amount the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission ($10 billion) and Gang of Six ($11 billion) recommended in total agriculture cuts.
Agriculture is a bright spot in America’s economy. The Senate’s 2013 Farm Bill strengthens top priorities that help farmers, ranchers and small business owners create jobs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30. A new bill must be passed this year to provide farmers the certainty they need to keep driving our economic recovery. Sixteen million jobs hang in the balance.
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Last year’s similar Senate farm bill passed the Senate with a wide bipartisan vote, 64-35. The farm bill is broadly supported by Democrats and Republicans across the country for its major reforms, common sense deficit reduction and strengthened job creation initiatives.