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Senate Passes Farm Bill

22 June 2012, at 8:55am

US - The US Senate yesterday passed the Farm Bill - Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act - which will run for five years and it worth about a trillion dollars to the economy.

It cuts about $5 billion in direct farm subsidies that were being paid to farmers regardless of whether they planted crops or not.

The new legislation also cuts land conservation spending by about $2 billion a year.

It also helps to protect sugar growers and about 46 million food stamp recipients.

The bill was passed by a margin of 64 to 35 and now moves to teh House of Representatives.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: "I'm very pleased that the Senate acted in bipartisan spirit today to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act.

"I am grateful for the Senate's progress toward providing a reformed safety net for producers in times of need, supporting agricultural research and trade promotion, honouring World Trade Organization commitments, furthering the bio-based economy, conserving our natural resources, strengthening local and regional food systems, and promoting job growth in rural America.

"As the legislative process moves forward, the Administration will continue to seek policy solutions and savings consistent with the President's Budget, and we are hopeful that the House of Representatives will produce a bill with those same goals in mind.

"Swift action is needed so that American farmers and ranchers and our rural communities have the certainty they need to continue strengthening the rural and national economy."

Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation said: “The bipartisan farm bill approved today by the Senate (S.3240) provides farmers improved risk management tools consistent with Farm Bureau's core principles.

"While no farm bill is perfect, this is a solid bill that was worthy of Senate approval. The bill includes important reforms and is fiscally responsible, while including important provisions to enhance crop insurance, maintain a viable marketing loan program and minimize the potential for farm program provisions to drive producer decisions.

“There is still a lot of hard work ahead to fully secure the kind of policy we believe our farm and ranch families need, but we applaud the Senate for approving a workable bill and moving this process forward.

"The Senate has provided us solid footing by approving a bill that stands firm on $23 billion in savings, yet protects and strengthens the federal crop insurance program and provides a commodity title that attempts to encourage producers to follow market signals rather than make planting decisions in anticipation of government payments.

“Now our attention turns to the House Agriculture Committee, which will begin its farm bill legislative activity in July.

"It remains critical for farmers to know what their new farm bill will be as they begin thinking about and looking toward next year’s cropping decisions. Farm Bureau remains committed to ensuring farmers have the tools they need to manage risks and minimizing the limitations imposed on farmers regardless of the size or type of their operations.

"And we are convinced that having a new farm bill in place this year is overwhelmingly in the best interest of our members.”