The Senate Ag committee’s draft farm bill released Friday got a much warmer reception than the House version. Senate Ag Committee member Tina Smith of Minnesota tells Brownfield she likes what’s in their draft farm bill which was released Friday. “Farmers and ranchers have been through a lot these last few years with commodity prices being so low, and now we have the uncertainty with the situation with trade, so I’m very encouraged that there’s bipartisan interest in the Senate.”
Smith, a Democrat, says their bipartisan bill has what is important like basic farm protections, farm programs, crop insurance, commodity programs, conservation programs, and she says it’s got to have a good nutrition program which is important to get it passed.
Smith tells Brownfield both parties in the Senate worked to not let SNAP program issues hold up this farm bill. “You know if there are places where we can make the bill work better when it comes to the nutrition program, Democrats are interested in doing that but we are not eager to turn this really important nutrition assistance into a bargaining chip, and I don’t think that’s happening.”
The National Farmers Union says the Senate bill is a significant improvement over the current House version but wants improvements to the farm safety net and market access program for farmers.
American Farm Bureau Federation’s Zippy Duvall says with farm debt on the rise and international markets in jeopardy, it is important the Senate bill strikes a balance that will help set the overall congressional tone for getting the farm bill done this year.
The National Pork Produce Council is pleased the measure establishes a Foot and Mouth Vaccine Bank.
The American Soybean Association says they’re grateful for the bipartisan effort to complete the farm bill this year. President Davie Stephens says farmers need the certainty of the new five-year bill and hopes the full Senate considers it before the July recess.
National Association of Wheat Growers President Jimmie Musick also appreciates the effort to finish the farm bill this year and says there are several provisions that are very positive for wheat farmers.
The Foundation for Government Accountability criticizes the Senate bill, saying the bill does not include expansions of the work requirements to parents and middle-aged adults featured in the House Farm Bill.
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy gives the Senate bill mixed reviews, saying it includes much-needed reforms, expanded high-speed rural Internet, and restoration of a USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development position, but says the bill is a mixed bag on conservation and does not address the structural problems that led to four straight years of declining farm income and higher debt.
The Senate Ag Committee will discuss the bill and possible amendments Wednesday.
Click here to read the legislation and a section-by-section summary.
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