Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota released a discussion draft of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) today. FARRM is a bipartisan bill that saves taxpayers billions, reduces the nation's deficit and repeals outdated policies while reforming, streamlining and consolidating others. It is the product of a two-year process that examined every single policy under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Agriculture. The legislation cuts spending, reduces the size of government and makes common-sense reforms to agricultural policy.

"I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson. Our efforts over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery. This bill is an investment in production agriculture and rural America. Those of us in the agriculture community are quick to point out that our producers provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. We say it because it's true. This legislation is a commitment to maintaining that tradition,"says Lucas.

“Congress needs to complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires, otherwise we jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation’s fragile economy. The legislation released today brings us yet another step closer to achieving this goal and I am pleased to have worked with the Chairman in this effort. We have a commodity title in place that will work for all parts of the country as well as continued support for the sugar program and Dairy Security Act. I have long believed every government program must contribute toward deficit reduction and while I would have found other ways to accomplish the bill’s nutrition savings, the bottom line is that, working together, we need to keep this farm bill moving forward. There will be challenges ahead, but we will pass the bill out of Committee next week and, if the House leadership gets this right and brings the bill to the floor, we will ultimately finish the bill in September,”says Peterson.

 

Read the text of the bill (pdf). Some of the highlights (pdf) include:

  • Saving $35 billion in mandatory funding.
    • Repealing or consolidating more than 100 programs.
  • Elimination of direct payments; streamlining and reforming commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
  • Improving program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
  • Consolidation of 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
  • Regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers and rural communities face.

The House Agriculture Committee will consider the legislation during a business meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 11.