With broad bipartisan support, the United States Senate Thursday passed Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow's Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, also known as "the farm bill," by a vote of 64-35.

Senator Stabenow's farm bill is a historic reform that cuts over $23 billion dollars in spending by eliminating unnecessary direct payment subsidies, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse. These reforms allow for the strengthening of agriculture initiatives that are helping Michigan farmers and agriculture businesses grow our economy.

News outlets have called the 2012 farm bill "one of the biggest changes to farm policy in years" (Wall St Journal, 6/7/12), "genuinely a landmark shift... toward a more market-oriented approach" (Politico, 6/12/12), and "one of the biggest policy changes in generations" (Bloomberg, 4/26/12)."  And the Washington Post said the farm bill "cuts represent not only systemic reform but also more than twice the agriculture savings that the Simpson-Bowles commission proposed." (6/11/12)

"When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan," said Senator Stabenow. "Agriculture supports nearly one in four Michigan jobs and 16 million jobs nationwide and passing this bill was critical for our economy.

Senator Stabenow continued, "This farm bill represents the greatest reform in agriculture in decades.  Bipartisan compromise is all-too-rare in Washington, so it is heartening to earn support from both sides on a major bill that cuts spending and helps create jobs. It's good to know that when you bring people together Congress can still get something done."

The farm bill also includes Senator Stabenow's amendment to help Michigan fruit growers impacted this year by weather disaster. The amendment provides an opportunity for producers who do not have adequate access to crop insurance and lost crops due to frosts and freezes in Michigan and other states to purchase coverage in 2012 through the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Senator Stabenow was joined by top Agriculture Committee Republican Pat Roberts in introducing the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act.  The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the bill on April 26 with a strong bipartisan vote of 16-5.