House Passes Farm Bill, Moves on for Senate Approval
The House has passed an almost $100 billion-a-year, compromise farm bill that would make small cuts to food stamps and continue subsidies for agriculture producers.
The vote was 251-166, which included a vote in favor of the bill from Nebraska's Third District Rep. Adrian Smith. Smith says the bill isn't perfect and other issues not addressed in the Agriculture Act of 2014, such as trade and livestock provisions, will still need solutions.
"Nebraska producers have waited for more than three yearsfor a long-term Farm Bill," Smith said. "Policy certainty will help our farmers andranchers remain competitive and benefit consumers, and the bill containsimportant reforms to save an estimated $23 billion for hardworking taxpayers."
Some ag organizations are applauding the House's approval and are now urging the Senate to quickly pass the bill.
The American Soybean Association says there is no time to waste. "We've been operatingwithout a farm bill since the end of September; that means no certainty when itcomes to risk management, export market promotion, programs that assistour industry's growing biodiesel and biobased products sectors, and countlessothers," said ASA President Ray Gaesser.
"Moreover, USDA needs time to put these programs in place for 2014 crops,which begin to be harvested in May," Gaesser added. "The Senate needs to take up the billand pass it immediately so we can put this process behind us and keep producingand planning for the tough challenges ahead."
The organization says it supports the bill's risk management framework; its strengthening of cropinsurance; streamlining and optimization of conservation programs; investmentin critical trade development and renewables like biodiesel and biobasedproducts; support for beginning farmers and ranchers and acknowledgment of therole of agricultural research.
The president of the National Association of Wheat Growers echoed ASA's approval. NAWG President Bing Von Bergen said, "I and my fellow wheatgrowers applaud the House for passing the farm bill conference report thismorning. We look forward to a speedy vote in the Senate and thePresident's signature as soon as possible. This bill provides our nation'swheat farmers with the certainty they need and deserve. "
The Senate is expected to pass the approved bill along to President Obama.