“In the mark, the Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap is gradually reduced from 30 million acres to 25 million acres due to budget constraints, and the conservation title remains essentially the same from last year’s Senate farm bill.

“NFU is very pleased to see a strong energy title that includes $800 million in mandatory funding for programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Biobased Markets Program and Biorefinery Assistance Program.

“Following conversations with (Oklahoma Rep. Frank) Lucas, we expect the House Committee on Agriculture to follow suit very soon and are pleased to see movement in both chambers because Sept. 30, 2013, is rapidly approaching.”

National Milk Producers Federation

“We are pleased that the dairy title of the farm bill released by the Senate Agriculture Committee contains the Dairy Security Act (DSA), just as it was included in last year’s Senate farm bill,” said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. “The DSA is the best approach for providing a cost-effective safety net for dairy farmers. … The DSA provides the right combination of effective risk management for dairy farmers while minimizing program costs to the taxpayer.

“NMPF is part of a coalition … that has been working since 2009 on replacing outdated dairy programs that don’t work, with a new safety net that reflects that realities of dairy farming in (this) century. Dairy farmers throughout the U.S. support the proposal that the Agriculture Committee will be reviewing next week, and urge members of the committee — and their counterparts in the House Agriculture Committee, which will also review the DSA next week — to pass this critical legislation.”

Among critics of the draft is Oxfam America.

“Leaders of the Senate Agriculture committee must respond to growing momentum for food aid reform to increase the effectiveness of the program and save more lives,” said Eric Munoz, policy advisor for Oxfam America.

“While retaining the modest proposal from last year’s version to cut waste and modernize America’s international food aid programs, the bill fails to rise to the opportunity of wider reform, as proposed by President Obama in his budget request.

“Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee must seize the opportunity presented by this unique moment to adopt real reform to improve the effectiveness of food aid.

“The rest of the farm bill leaves a lot to be desired. Our elected members of Congress should do more to make our farm bill serve a diverse, fair, and resilient global agriculture system, not just respond to a handful of entrenched interests.”

dbennett@farmpress.com