House-Senate negotiators reached agreement and filed a new farm bill late Monday: a nearly 960-page measure that combines a landmark rewrite of commodity programs together with bipartisan reforms and savings from food stamps.
Factoring in cuts already made during two years of debate, the bill should generate about $23 billion in 10-year savings, a third of which is attributed to the nutrition title. The single-largest savings will come from ending direct cash payments to farmers, which cost more than $4 billion annually. This nearly 18-year-old program will be replaced by two options linked to real market losses. But the total dollars within the commodity title are projected to be substantially less, and more than ever, crop insurance emerges as the backbone of the farm safety net.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging House members to pass H.R. 2642, the 2014 farm bill. “The bill will provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming year and allow the Agriculture Department to begin planning for implementation of the bill’s provisions,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman in a statement. Stallman described the legislation as a solid bill that includes many Farm Bureau-supported provisions, including risk management for fruit and vegetable farmers and support for livestock farmers during disasters.
Below is his full statement:
“The American Farm Bureau Federation urges House and Senate members to pass H.R. 2642, the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill will provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming year and allow the Agriculture Department to begin planning for implementation of the bill’s provisions.
“We appreciate the hard work of the conferees to get the farm bill to this point. They had many tough decisions to make, but were able to move forward with a solid bill that includes many Farm Bureau-supported provisions. We are particularly pleased with provisions to provide risk management to fruit and vegetable farmers and to support livestock farmers during disasters. We now urge House members to bring it on home by voting in support of the bill.
“It is imperative that all of agriculture unify behind this farm bill, for the good of the whole of American agriculture, consumers, our hard-working farm and ranch families and the rural communities they support.”