By a vote of 195 to 234, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday rejected the Federal Agriculture Reform and risk Management Act.
Response was immediate:
National Cotton Council
The farm legislation rejected by the House would have provided a predictable, long-term safety net while saving more than $40 billion over the next 10 years; reforming and streamlining programs; and providing a basis for the resolution of a long- standing trade dispute.
National Cotton Council Chairman Jimmy Dodson, a South Texas cotton producer, said, "U.S. farmers need a stable, long- term policy in order to continue to make the substantial investments necessary to continue to adopt new technology necessary to provide safe, affordable food and fiber to U.S. processors and consumers and to maintain competitiveness in world markets. The U.S. cotton industry is deeply disappointed that the House failed to approve the legislation approved by the Agriculture Committee on a strong bipartisan vote after two years of extensive debate and consideration hundreds of amendments."
"The cotton industry is deeply grateful to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and many Cotton Belt members for their tireless efforts to develop and promote approval of this important legislation which would have eliminated the uncertainty associated with one-year extensions.
"The industry also is grateful that during the debate, the House rejected proposals to apply income tests and limitations on crop insurance and rejected a proposal to terminate the highly effective export promotion program (MAP) but is disappointed the House approved a proposal to add more qualifications and further tightened a limitation on farm program benefits delivered by USDA's Farm Service Agency."
The House Agriculture Committee and the full House thoroughly debated more than 200 amendments during the legislation's development. NCC Chairman Dodson said Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson are to be commended for the open process under which the legislation was developed and debated.
The cotton industry urges House leaders to allow the bipartisan farm bill produced by the Agriculture Committee to be reconsidered by the full House so that a Conference Committee can resolve differences between their respective bills and a new farm law can be enacted before the expiration of current law.
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives failing to pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (2013 farm bill):
“The National Corn Growers Association is extremely disappointed to see the House of Representatives fail to pass the 2013 farm bill. Up to the last minute our organization has actively and consistently called for passage of the legislation. We will be engaged in all efforts needed to secure passage in the House and bring the bill to Conference.”
The American Soybean Association (ASA) voiced its extreme disappointment and frustration this afternoon following a vote by the House of Representatives to reject the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.
With a vote of 195 to 234, the farm bill failed to pass the House following two days of debate. ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss, issued the following statement on today’s development:
“Today’s failure leaves the entire food and agriculture sector in the lurch. Once again, the nation’s soybean farmers and the 23 million Americans whose jobs depend on agriculture are left holding the bag.
“This bill would have reinforced the farm safety net, promoted our products in foreign markets, strengthened the fast-growing biodiesel industry, enhanced conservation programs; not to mention the stable, affordable and safe supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel that it would have ensured for all Americans; all while addressing our collective fiscal and budgetary obligations.
“Now, none of those benefits can be realized and a debilitating uncertainty extends from farmers to consumers as we all face the expiration of farm bill programs on Sept. 30.
“It is incumbent on both Republicans and Democrats to find a way forward for American agriculture.”
“The American Farm Bureau Federation is highly disappointed the House did not complete work on the 2013 farm bill, the ‘Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.’ It was a balanced bill that would have provided much needed risk management tools and a viable economic safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers.
“We commend House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for their commitment and hard work in bringing the bill to the floor and working toward its passage. We look forward to working with them as we regroup and move forward. We also appreciate House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for working with the Agriculture Committee leadership to bring the bill to the floor.
“A completed farm bill is much needed to provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming years and to allow the Agriculture Department to plan for an orderly implementation of the bill’s provisions.”
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George, a dairy and beef producer from Cody, Wyo., issued the following statement:
“Passage of a 2013 farm bill remains the top priority for NCBA. That is why we are extremely disappointed in the failure of many members of the House for not recognizing the importance of a full five-year farm bill. In the midst of the struggling economy, rural America has been one of the few bright spots. This failure by the House places cattlemen and women behind the curve on having agriculture policy which not only provides certainty for producers nationwide, but also incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry.
“We were very close in this legislation to providing disaster programs for our producers, which would have extended disaster assistance for five years and would have covered losses in 2012 and 2013. These disaster programs are essential to equipping producers with the necessary tools to manage the risks associated with catastrophic weather events. After the historic drought which has plagued the countryside for the last few years, livestock producers needed these programs now more than ever.
“NCBA appreciates the efforts of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota in attempting to move the 2013 farm bill forward. We continue to support passage of this legislation by the House and will work to ensure that producers receive the certainty they deserve. This was not a perfect bill for any industry, but in the end cattlemen and women made sacrifices in order to support this bill. We expected members of the House to do the same.”
National Sorghum Producers Chairman Terry Swanson, a sorghum farmer from southeast Colorado, released the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representative’s failure to pass H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.
“National Sorghum Producers is proud of the hard work and leadership put forth by Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Collin Peterson and their staff in putting forth a fair and equitable bill.
"We are disappointed the House was unable to come to an agreement resulting in its passage, but NSP will continue to work with leadership to eventually pass a five-year farm bill."
Specialty Crop Alliance
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) is deeply disappointed that the House of Representatives did not pass a Farm Bill today and move the bill to conference. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) Act of 2013 was rejected by a vote of 195-234.
The House also failed to pass the 2012 farm bill last year with lawmakers opting to instead extend the 2008 Farm Bill to Sept. 30, 2013.
United Fresh is disappointed that the House of Representatives rejected the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) Act of 2013 with a vote of 195-234 this afternoon.
“We felt we had a very strong bill for specialty crops that was supported by members from both sides of the aisle,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “We strongly encourage the House Leadership and the House Agriculture Committee to get back together and bring back to the House floor a bill that can pass before the current extension expires at the end of September.”
Center for Rural Affairs
Today the House of Representatives rejected final passage of the House farm bill by a 234-195 vote.
In an even more historic move, however, the full house voted, 230 to 194, in favor of an amendment offered by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) that would cap farm program payments so they support family farmers and ranchers, not passive investors and mega-farmers.
“We thank Representative Fortenberry for leading the charge to close the gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of farm program payment limitations,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Policy Director at the Center for Rural Affairs. “Representative Fortenberry’s tireless advocacy for reducing the subsidies that mega-farms use to drive family farmers out of business is laudable,” continued Bruckner.
According to Bruckner, the final passage of the House farm bill failed in part because of huge cuts to the food stamp program and because the rules established for the debate did not allow for further consideration of needed reforms to federal crop insurance premium subsidies.
The House Rules Committee did not allow amendments that would have reduced premium subsidies for those making over $750,000 in adjusted gross income. Nor did they allow a vote on an amendment that would have placed a cap on federal crop insurance premium subsidies to mega-farmers.
“Rep. Fortenberry’s amendment was a good amendment, an historic silver lining, in a farm bill that otherwise did not adequately reflect rural America’s most important priorities,” added Bruckner. “The failure of this farm bill vote sends a clear signal that the Farm Bill needs much greater reform to achieve passage.”
U.S. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., made the following statement after the House of Representatives failed to approve a new farm bill.
“The farm bill failed to pass the House today because the House Republicans could not control the extreme right wing of their party. From day one I cautioned my colleagues that to pass a farm bill we would have to work together. Instead, the House adopted a partisan amendment process, playing political games with extreme policies that have no chance of becoming law.
“This flies in the face of nearly four years of bipartisan work done by the Agriculture Committee. I’ll continue to do everything I can to get a farm bill passed but I have a hard time seeing where we go from here.”
Secretary of Agriculture
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today on the failure of the House version of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill:
"The failure by the House leadership, for the second year in a row, to reach consensus on a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is a tremendous disappointment for all Americans. Twice now, the U.S. Senate has done its job and passed balanced, comprehensive legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.
"Unfortunately, the House version of this bill would have unfairly denied food assistance for millions of struggling families and their children, while failing to achieve needed reforms or critical investments to continue economic growth in rural America. As a result, the House was unable to achieve bipartisan consensus."
"The House did the American people a true injustice today," National Grange President Ed Luttrell said after learning the legislative body failed to pass the farm bill in a 195-234 vote.
The Grange, America's oldest agriculture and rural advocacy group, has been a significant supporter of the bill that Luttrell said would have offered stability to one of the nation's leading industries.
"Last year's extension of the farm bill was extremely disappointing to the ag community and the House's failure to pass the bill today just deepens this frustration," Luttrell said. "The farm bill isn't just about farming and agriculture. It's about jobs, energy, and our nation's overall recovery in this still struggling economy. One in 12 American jobs depend upon agriculture and without the strength and stability provided by the farm bill, our nation's farmers and ranchers will be unable to make rational, informed decisions about the future."
National Grange Legislative Director Grace Boatright said the failure comes mainly from proposed cuts to the 80 percent of farm bill spending marked for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
"Cuts to the SNAP program were undoubtedly the cause of today's farm bill rejection in the House, which is especially frustrating because I believe that the Senate and House bills had a lot of common ground on which to build. It's going to be a long and dreary road from here as the Washington ag community regroups and reevaluates its work on this issue," Boatright said.
Boatright said the continued inability of Congress to move forward on even the most crucial measures is disappointing.
"Unfortunately, American agriculture and the millions of people who benefit from it can't wait for Washington to resolve its issues. We needed action today and I know I speak for our more than 160,000 members when I say we are incredibly disappointed by the House's failure to pass this vital piece of legislation."
Boatright and Luttrell agreed that there is public misunderstanding about aspects of the bill, but say Congress should be more aware than the average American of the need to pass legislation that gives farmers a better safety net, enhances conservation, stabilizes and enhances safety measures for food and assists in the promotion of our products in foreign markets.
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