Farm Bill Passes House of Representatives


The U.S. House of Representatives was able to pass a farm bill this morning on a bipartisan 251-166 vote.  The bill, entitled the Agricultural Act of 2014 has been a struggle for the past three years as it attempted to make its through a deeply divided house, many of whom still believe the measure falls short in several areas.  House Ag Chair Frank Lucas himself called the conference report a “legislative miracle” prior to the floor debate, and hoped that many would be able to see their way through the differences to bring some sort of certainty to the agricultural community.  Indeed, some prior opponents had become advocates.  Most notably, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who voted against the farm bill in June and Black Caucus Leader Marcia Fudge, who previously had expressed concerns about the size of funding cuts to the SNAP Program.
Several commodity and industry groups had praised the bills measures, including the American Soybeans Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union.  There were a few groups, however that expressed disappointment including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producer’s Council.  The groups’ opposition stemmed primarily from the fact that the bill did not address current Country of Origin Labeling rules, something many livestock and meat industry groups fear will bring retaliatory trade measures from Canada.
The next step for the farm bill will be a vote on the Senate Floor, which is expected next week.  House Majority leader Harry Reid has already expressed his support and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow has said she believes the bill has enough votes to pass.  Both Representative Lucas and Senator Stabenow have said the they believe President Obama will sign the measure.
House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson has scheduled a press conference for 11 am central time.