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Word on the street: Senate farm bill passage
Here are a few of the reactions from Monday's passage of the Farm Bill, S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food & Jobs Act, in the Senate.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate ag committee
"The Senate today voted to support 16 million American jobs, to save taxpayers billions, and to implement the most significant reforms to agriculture programs in decades,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “By eliminating duplication and streamlining programs, we were able to save $24 billion while strengthening initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets. This bill proves that by working across party lines, we can save taxpayer money and create smart policies that lay the foundation for a stronger economy.”
U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
"Regrettably, our two sides have been unable to reach an agreement to consider a finite number of amendments to this measure. But I am optimistic that we will advance this measure today and that next week the farm bill will pass on a strong, bipartisan vote in the Senate, as it did last year. Unfortunately, last year the House of Representatives failed to take up the Senate’s bipartisan farm bill. I hope this year Republican leadership will allow a vote in the House on the Senate’s bipartisan legislation, which will create jobs, cut taxpayer subsidies, and reduce the deficit by $23 billion."
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
"The Senate bill takes several important steps to ensure the continued integrity of our farm programs. We eliminate direct payments and establish a new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program that will help address losses not covered by crop insurance. At the same time, we maintain a strong crop insurance program, which producers have told me time and time again is the most critical risk management tool."
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
"As a former chairman and ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, I recognize how difficult it is to combine diverse interests into a single piece of legislation that meets the needs of all crops, regions, rural and urban communities. I want to thank Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran for the work they have done to craft a reform-minded bill, that not only saves $24 billion with sequestration cuts included, but also provides an effective safety net for farmers and ranchers to rely on in times of need."
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
"Last year, the Senate similarly passed a bipartisan bill, only to have the House of Representatives refuse to take it up. North Dakota producers deserve a long-term bill, and it is incumbent upon the House to step up for rural America. Inaction will simply delay needed reforms, prevent smart cuts from taking place, and continue unneeded policies that do not reflect the needs of rural America."
Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association president and Canton, Mississippi, farmer
"The bill represents a commitment from farmers to our collective national financial responsibility, cutting billions in spending and streamlining redundant and ineffective federal programs. It is a bill that provides much needed certainty to farmers facing a mounting force of weather- and market-related unknowns."
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson
"America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and bipartisan efforts by the Senate to complete their work on the farm bill. We also recognize the efforts put forth to address regional concerns to ensure all areas of the country are adequately represented in the final language."
Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation
"We are very pleased at the progress made during this vital step in the farm bill process, but we also know that much work lies ahead. We encourage the House of Representatives to also support its Agriculture Committee-passed bill, and reject any dairy processor-backed amendment to undermine the bill's effectiveness by removing the market stabilization program. Prompt action in the House is necessary so that farmers won't spend the last half of this year like they spent 2012: Expecting a harvest that never materializes."
Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association Executive Director Tadd Nicholson
"After facing one of the most difficult seasons in decades with the drought of 2012, we are pleased to see the Senate recognized the need and importance of a safety net for Ohio's farmers. The crop insurance program remains one of the most important tools available to Ohio farmers when they face circumstances beyond their control, and we are grateful the committee chose to support the program."
Justin M. Darisse, vice president, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
"Producers across the country deserve the certainty provided by a five-year bill, and the Senate vote is notable for the strong bipartisan and regionally balanced support shown for the legislation."
Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers and cochair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance
“This bill provides the specialty crop community with necessary resources such as funds for food safety enhancement, pest and disease intervention and eradication, and increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables that contribute to healthy diets. We hope that the House of Representatives moves expeditiously next week to likewise pass its version of a bill.”