U.S. Senate passes 2012 Farm Bill

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Senate on June 21 moved for full passage of its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, S.3240 the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 by a 64-35 vote.

National Association of Wheat Growers President Erik Younggren commended the Senate for moving forward with the legislation.

“This will provide policy certainty for hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers and one in 12 American job earners who rely on agriculture,” he sad.

“This bill is about standing up for our nation’s farmers, our small businesses, our manufacturers, our exporters and others whose livelihoods depend on us getting the policy right,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow.

In addition to reauthorizing the nation’s food and farm programs, the chamber’s version calls on the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon to report on how sequestration expected in January 2013 will be implemented.

 “American agriculture and those who depend on it around the globe need a Farm Bill,” said Senate Committee on Agriculture Majority Leader Pat Roberts. “They need to know what to expect from the federal government to make planning decisions, to be assured of a safe and affordable food supply, and to know that their businesses and families will have the opportunity to thrive. I take this responsibility seriously.”

Efforts to reauthorize farm and food programs this year now turn to the House of Representatives who are expected to hold a committee mark up of their version of the bill after the fourth of July recess.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) said the Senate version of the bill contains several provisions that will help soybean growers.

"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. "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% 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.

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