Farm Bill Passes the Senate


Photo by tvanhoosear. Some rights reserved.

After two years of alterations and arguments, the farm bill has finally been approved by the Senate  by a vote of 68-32. The bill the Senate passed on Tuesday afternoon is the same bill that the House committee accepted last week, a final version that represents a bi-partisan compromise on the original bill. As President Obama acknowledged, the version that is on it’s way to his desk for signature “isn’t perfect – but on the whole, it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America’s food, but for our nation.” A signing ceremony is planned for this Friday at Michigan State University.

The bill allocates $1 trillion in spending over the next decade. Its major components, and some of the major points of contrition, involve alterations to the commodities program to provide more agri-benefits to farmers, and $8 billion in cuts to the national food stamp program. Other fund allocations include $8 billion in expansions of crop insurance for farmers, and $125 million for a “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” at the USDA. While the bill seems to go a long ways towards providing expanded coverage and benefits to agribusiness, the cuts to food stamps (as well as other budget cuts like the elimination of a $5 billion crop subsidy program that allowed farmers to claim insurance whether they were actually growing crops or not) are expected to generate $23 billion in savings over the next ten years.

Needless to say, not everyone is happy about the bill being so close to being passed, and many readily admit it’s far from perfect. You can find specifics of exactly how the money in the bill will be spent as well as some of the more minor and interesting points of the bill at Modern Farmer and the Washington Post (as well as everywhere else on the internet, those are just two articles I found particularly enlightening).

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Louis Kingma on February 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I enjoy reading your posts and take pride in the realization that these words are coming from my own very intelligent grandson. I also note that you try not to reveal any bias in your posts which I like but still detect a bit coming from between the lines. Case in point – I detect you’re quite pleased by the new farm bill that will cost tax payers another trillion over the next decade.
    The Christmas before last I learned that neither you nor your siblings were aware of the current national debt. At that time it was around 16 trillion, now a year later it’s well over 17 trillion and growing fast. This is a debt that is being passed on to your generation and generations to come. Your other granddad (Hargus) once told me that the good thing is that it is in US dollars and so eventually our dollar will devaluate to near zero and then the dept can be paid off with ease. Never the less, adding another trillion to the debt concerns me.
    Going back to the farm bill, I wonder if you’re aware of all the pork that congressmen gained in order for this bill to be passed. I suppose as one who grew up on a farm I should be equally pleased with this aid going to farmers, but the sad truth is that many current farmers today are not the struggling 40 plus acre farmers doing their own work as in time past, but are multi acre wealthy tycoon’s spending their winters in Florida while migrant workers are doing the hard work at very low wages. And they need this aid like a hole in their head.

    Your Granddad


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