What is in this article?:
- Senate approves farm bill 64-35
- American Farmland Trust
- Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance
- Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice-President Colin Woodall
- National Sustainable agriculture Coalition
- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
- National Cotton Council
- National Association of Wheat Growers
- American Soybean Association
• In somewhat of a surprise move the Senate has approved its version of the 2012 farm bill. Response was rapid.
American Soybean Association
"ASA is extremely pleased with the Senate's legislation, which would establish an effective risk management program for soybean producers that complements crop insurance, consolidate conservation programs, and have agriculture do its fair share to help address our nation's fiscal situation by reducing government spending on agriculture by $23 billion," said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb.
"We look forward to working with the House Agriculture Committee as it finalizes its version of this legislation, so the 2012 farm bill can be completed this year."
Major provisions supported by ASA include the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program under which revenue losses exceeding 11 percent will be partially offset at either the farm or county level. ASA also supported the consolidation of conservation programs for environmentally sensitive and working lands, reduction of Conservation Reserve Program acres from 32 to 25 million acres, and reauthorization and funding of the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.
In its review of the farm bill, the Senate considered a total of 73 amendments, including several that ASA strongly opposed and that were defeated:
• An amendment by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) that would have made national check-off programs voluntary lost on a vote of 20-79.
• An amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would have reduced annual funding for MAP from $200 to $160 million lost on a vote of 30-69.
• An amendment by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) to authorize states to require mandatory labeling of biotech food products lost on a vote of 26-73.
"While ASA disagrees with some of the amendments that were approved on the floor of the Senate, on the whole ASA believes the Senate's farm bill will help farmers manage risk, conserve natural resources and develop foreign markets," Wellman stated.
"Additionally, maintaining the viability of the crop insurance program as an effective risk management tool is a top priority for ASA and soybean farmers. ASA will continue to work with the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to ensure that the viability of the crop insurance program as a risk management tool is not weakened."
Wellman concluded, "ASA thanks Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Pat Roberts for their leadership in guiding the farm bill through the Senate. We urge the House to move forward so the 2012 farm bill process can be completed before current program authorities expire at the end of September."