Jan 30, 2014 — The bipartisan compromise version of the Farm Bill sailed through the House of Representatives yesterday, with 60% of lawmakers voting yes. David Sommerstein reports on the 5 year, $500 billion package.
The last Farm Bill expired two years ago. And the U.S. has been without a comprehensive agricultural strategy since then.
New York Farm Bureau president Dean Norton says the best part of the bill is that it’s done.
NORTON: Farmers and agriculturalists have been waiting for this for a couple years. Now we’ll have some certainty, that we can make some plans for our operations for the next five years going forward. Certainty is always a positive when it comes to this type of legislation.
The bill provides a new margin insurance program to protect dairy farmers from low milk prices and high feed costs. It also includes a robust program to protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests. It offers organic farmers more generous crop insurance. And it continues a beginning farmer program.
The bill cuts food stamps by 800 million dollars, which is a tenth what Tea Party Republicans wanted to cut from the program, but twice what liberal Democrats were initially willing to cut.
North Country Congressman Bill Owens voted for the bill, which also includes measures he co-sponsored to export apples to Canada and better market New York maple syrup.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass easily.