The House Agriculture Committee released its version of the farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, or FARRM, late yesterday. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson released the bill together to reflect a bipartisan effort among the committee leaders, much like the Senate Ag Committee did.
Here are some highlights of the House version of the farm bill:
- Savings of more than $35 billion in mandatory funding and repeal or consolidation of more than 100 programs.
- Elimination of direct payments and streamlined and reformed commodity policy, saving more than $14 billion.
- Saving more than $16 billion, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has some improved accountability measures.
- 23 conservation programs are consolidated into 13 to improve program delivery to producers, saving more than $6 billion.
Representative Peterson says there are challenges ahead, but he expects the committee to approve the bill next week. The legislation will be considered by the House Ag Committee on Wednesday, July 11. Peterson says the the House leadership brings the bill to the floor, it can be finished by September.
Reactions to the release of the House’s version of the farm bill are pouring in across ag country.
National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer said the following:
“The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the House Agriculture Committee propose their version of the 2012 farm bill. Our board is assessing similarities and differences between the legislation and our grower-developed policy. NCGA continues to call on Congress to pass a new farm bill this year.”
The National Sorghum Producers were pleased with the legislation as well.
“The National Sorghum Producers commends the House Agriculture Committee’s bipartisan commitment to strong U.S. farm policy and to our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” said J.B. Stewart, NSP Legislative Committee chairman. “We are very pleased to be at this point in the 2012 Farm Bill process and we look forward to helping House committee members bring this bill across the finish line.”
And, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) expressed its strong opposition any amendment that Representative Bob Goodlatte intends to introduce during next week’s markup of the farm bill in the House Agriculture Committee that would change current sugar programs in such a way as to effectively eliminate the program.
“Any House amendment similar to the Toomey amendment that we saw in the Senate would undermine a program that costs taxpayers nothing and would threaten the jobs thousands of Americans across the country,” said Chuck Conner, president & CEO of NCFC. “The benefits of ending the sugar program would not go to U.S. consumers but rather to our foreign competitors, who are heavily subsidized.”