Farmers across the U.S. heard good news this week as farm bill legislation was approved in the Conference Committee, and then went to the House for a passing vote of 251 to 166. The Senate is expected to vote next week.
Commodity and agriculture-related organizations were pleased with the bill passage in the House.
“We’re thrilled to see today’s action on the part of the House and look forward to an equally fast consideration in the Senate,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, who observed the floor vote from the House gallery while visiting the Capitol. “This legislation provides an adequate and flexible farm safety net, as well as a strong federal crop insurance program. More importantly, farmers need the certainty of a new five-year law, and we are happy to see this legislation includes many reforms we’ve supported and stressed over the years, reforms that make sense both for farmers and taxpayers.”
The American Soybean Association supports the bill’s risk management framework; its strengthening of crop insurance; streamlining and optimization of conservation programs; investment in critical trade development and renewables like biodiesel and biobased products; support for beginning farmers and ranchers and acknowledgment of the role of agricultural research.
“We have maintained throughout this process that we are willing to work together with all of agriculture to move this process forward,” Gaesser said. “The bill is a reflection of that willingness to cooperate and compromise and Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson deserve great credit for producing a bill that captures that cooperation and compromise so well.
“We can see the finish line,” he added. “It’s been a long, long road to this point, but we’re almost there. It’s up to the Senate now to bring this process to fruition by passing the farm bill.”
Individual state organizations are pleased with the bill and the quick movement through the House.
“After more than two years of work, we’re pleased to finally see a farm bill move forward out of the House. This bill addresses many of the policy objectives Illinois farmers have stressed during the lengthy debate and provides needed business certainty for farmers over what could be a very challenging next five years,” says Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr.
“The farm bill strengthens the federal crop insurance program, which is the most important risk management tool available to farmers. The bill maintains resources for cost-share, working land conservation programs that allow farmers improve water quality, and adapt to tightening regulations.
“This legislation is not only fiscally responsible, but helps Illinois farmers put a much needed five-year plan in place to help manage their risk in an increasingly risky business. We applaud our Representatives’ hard work in crafting and supporting this important legislation and urge our Senators to follow suit,” Guebert says.
“We appreciate the farm bill’s swift passage in the House of Representatives and urge the Senate to do the same, ultimately putting the bill on President Obama’s desk,” said Mark Gross, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.
“This is the largest deficit reducing bill to pass through Congress in some time. Beyond that we are pleased with the options farmers will have when it comes to risk management.“
The South Dakota Farmers Union echoed the support.
"This farm bill provides South Dakota's number one industry with much needed aid as well as hope for a bright future," Sombke said. "On behalf of the family farmers, ranchers and South Dakota's consumers, I commend the House on passing the farm bill. The conference report is a true compromise and I am pleased to have certainty for all South Dakotans."
The Independent Community Bankers of America weighed in on the passage, too.
“ICBA is pleased the House today passed a new farm bill. Adopting this compromise legislation has amounted to a herculean effort over the past couple of years. The legislation will provide a long-term framework for agricultural and rural policies that will benefit rural America, our farmers and ranchers, and the community banks that serve them.
“ICBA appreciates the farm bill’s strengthening of crop and revenue insurance programs, removal of term limits on USDA guaranteed farm operating loans, and other federal policies important to rural America.
There are several resources with details about the House-passed legislation and the bill that came out of the Conference Committee.
- For details about the bill, the University of Illinois summarized the Commodity and other titles in the new bill.
- House democrats also have a PDF outlining major points of all titles in the new legislation.
- The American Forrest Foundation has put together a PDF of the differences between the House and Senate and what the Conference Committee finally agreed on when it comes to conservation.