You haven’t heard this said a lot: Congress got a lot done this week! At least when it comes to the farm bill. American Farm public policy director Dale Moore talks about what got done in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
|Miller:||It’s been a big week for the farm bill. Both the House and Senate agriculture committees passed their versions of a new farm bill.|
|Moore:||We’re pretty excited. We’ve seen another great example of bipartisan legislating on the part of both committees and their leaders. We’re very optimistic we’re going to get a farm bill done this year.|
|Miller:||American Farm Bureau public policy director Dale Moore says it’s nice to see bipartisan cooperation for a change…especially on this legislation that Congress was supposed to get done last year. Considering we’ve got a Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate, the two bills have a lot of similarities.|
|Moore:||They’ve taken some steps to streamline programs and to make some real reform in farm policy that contribute to strengthening the crop insurance and safety net provisions, streamlining the conservation programs as well as contributing a significant amount for deficit reduction. Both bills are more geared toward what crops they’re raising. That’s where the payments that the assistance that’s provided through the safety net comes. They also expanded the crop insurance options that producers have to make sure their risk management helps get them through those tough years, whether it’s Mother Nature that’s causing the problem or market volatility.|
|Miller:||In other words, the new farm bill will look a lot different than the old ones.|
|Moore:||I would say it’s a significant philosophy change particularly when you look at the three previous farm bills centered around the direct payment approach and some other provisions for the safety net. All of those provisions are gone.|
|Miller:||Now the safety net will likely be based on crop insurance, which farmers and ranchers pay into. But many people don’t realize the farm bill offers a safety net for others.|
|Moore:||Over the past several years as our nation’s economy in general has struggled, we’ve had some really tough economic times that have affected a lot of people. There are provisions in this farm bill that address the needs of those who are less fortunate than a lot of us, providing food for families in every corner of the country. At the same time there are provisions in there that help farmers with their conservation efforts. The co-benefit of that to the public at-large: improved water quality, improved soil erosion protection, improved wildlife habitat. All of those things accrue out of the farm bill and I think at it’s core, what the farm bill does is helps make sure that the agricultural producers all across this country continue to be able to supply us with an affordable, abundant, safe array of all kinds of crops, commodities, food products.|
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