What is in this article?:
- Stabenow expands on Senate farm bill passage
- Spending cuts noted
• 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.
Spending cuts noted
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 cuts spending by:
• Finally ending direct payment farm subsidies, meaning farmers will no longer be paid for crops they are not growing; will not be paid for acres that are not actually planted; and will not be paid when they are already doing well. Instead farmers will only receive support in the face of actual price or yield drops. Crop insurance will be strengthened to ensure farmers are protected from being wiped out by a few days of bad weather;
• Cracking down on fraud and abuse in food assistance programs so resources are used for those who truly need them. For example, the proposal would take lotto winners off of food assistance, stop misuse by college students who are still dependent on non-low-income families, and crack down on benefit trafficking and help keep liquor stores from participating in the program;
• Making agriculture initiatives more cost-effective-eliminating more than 100 programs and authorizations in the agriculture committees' jurisdiction while still largely accomplishing the same goals and making programs easier to use. For example, 23 existing conservation programs are consolidated into 13 while still maintaining the same tools currently available to protect our land and water-even increasing investment in top priorities like Great Lakes Protection.
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012helps farmers, ranchers and small business owners create jobs by:
• Expanding export opportunities to help farmers sell in new markets;
• Strengthening research and other initiatives to support innovation among American fruit and vegetable growers-particularly important to Michigan as our agriculture sector is based more on fruits and vegetables much more than most states;
• Helping family farmers sell locally, increasing support for farmers' markets and spurring the creation of food hubs to connect family farmers to schools and other community-based organizations;
• Providing training and access to capital to help beginning farmers to get off the ground.
• Creating initiatives to assist American veterans instarting agriculture businesses;
• Helping new bio-manufacturing businesses (which use agricultural products to replace petroleum-based plastics in manufactured goods) start, and existing ones expand;
• Spurring advancements in non-food-based bio-energy production;
• Extending rural development initiatives to help rural communities grow their economies.
A more detailed summary of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act is available here.
More information on the 2012 farm bill is available on the Senate Agriculture Committee's website: http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill.