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Senate Farm Bill
by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: June 25, 12
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Senate Farm Bill. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
The U.S. Senate pulled together last week and passed their version of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 on a 64-35 vote.
AUDIO: On this vote the yea’s are 64, the nay’s are 35. The 60 vote threshold having been achieved, the bill is passed.
The bi-partisan bill seems to have a lot of people smiling with few dissenters. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the half-trillion dollar bill eliminates direct payments to farmers but:
VILSACK: There’s still a very strong commitment to a safety net. The fact is it will be a safety net that relies on crop insurance and some form of revenue protection. Which is certainly important and essential to ensure that producers have certainty, that if natural disaster strikes or commodity prices drop quickly that there will be an opportunity to stay in business. That’s very important.
VIlsack goes on to talk about some of the other highlights of the Senate bill.
VILSACK: A very good strong effort at conservation with fewer programs with greater flexibility. A commitment to research and trade which are extremely important. I’m very pleased with the efforts to have a strong energy title that will help support the bio-based economy which is a component of a revitalized rural economy and certainly a continuation of our efforts to build local and regional food systems with a strong horticulture and organic title. All of that surrounded by a commitment to rural development that we need certainly encouraged by the work of the Senate.
When the news broke on Thursday that the bill had been passed many of the commodity groups released comments like the National Cattleman’s Beef Association president Colin Woodall who said quote: “ Like many of us who have a vested interest in this legislation, I was pleasantly surprised by the bipartisan efforts made to move this bill through the Senate very efficiently and without much partisan rhetoric.” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO said quote: “The bill supports fruits and vegetables in ways that will boost consumption and help provide healthful options to Americans – through block grants, nutrition programs and pest and disease research. ”
And we caught up with Washington Senator Maria Cantwell who challenged the House.
CANTWELL: Well this is a good bi-partisan effort out of the Senate so I would encourage our House colleagues to follow the same thing. I our state agriculture is still the number one employer and we’d like to have the predictability and certainty that is needed in the marketplace by saying this is what’s going to be there in an ag program and that will help our farmers to be competitive.
The House doesn’t plan to take up the bill until after the 4th of July holiday.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
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