Thursday morning the U.S. Senate voted for cloture, getting the ball rolling on Farm Bill negotiations. As it stands the bill represents significant reform of American agricultural policy. By ending direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, the SURE program and the ACRE program, the bill achieves billions in savings while strengthening responsible, market-based risk management tools that prevent farmers – and farm jobs — from being wiped out because of weather disaster or market volatility.
Through streamlining programs, the bill consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13 easier-to-use initiatives. This move has the support of nearly 650 environmental groups in all 50 states, which will mean less erosion, cleaner water and healthier wildlife habitats. Additionally, the bill increases efficiency and accountability while strengthening agricultural jobs initiatives.
Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says – we must pass this commonsense bill immediately to give farmers the certainty they need to continue growing the economy. Sixteen million American jobs rely on agriculture. The time for reform is now. The current farm bill is scheduled to expire at the end of September.