Finally, a farm bill: Senate passes Agriculture Act of 2014; Obama expected to sign soon
|By Bryan Horwath, The Dickinson Press, N.D.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Following a 68-32 vote in the
"Getting a strong vote in the House and now a strong vote in the
"Over two years ago, I pledged to work tirelessly to get a long-term farm bill passed," Heitkamp said. "Finally, we stepped up and gave our hardworking farmers and ranchers the certainty they absolutely deserve to do their jobs. My concern now is how this bill will be implemented and we will be doing everything we can to make sure this is implemented according to Congressional intent."
Obama released a statement through his press secretary Tuesday afternoon praising the
Many in the
"After a long journey, family farmers and ranchers now have the certainty of a strong farm program with a safety net in place," said
Watne said he encouraged
Heitkamp said another important stipulation included in the bill is the retroactivity of what she referred to in a release as a "serious, permanent livestock disaster program," a topic that became a hot-button issue following the early
Nearly 1,000 pages long, the farm bill includes provisions for the authorization or reauthorization of hundreds of programs and, according to the
A major sticking point of the bill, the
Hoeven pointed to the retention of a "strong focus" on enhanced crop insurance, the reinstitution of the livestock indemnity program and the estimated
Kevin Cramer, R-
"These decisive votes reaffirm there is bipartisan and bicameral support for the agriculture producers who feed our world," Cramer stated in a release. "The result is a compromise which is an encouraging sign in this divided
Calling the bill "important to the entire nation,"
"While no legislation is perfect, this bill is a strong investment in American agriculture and supports the continued global leadership of our farmers and ranchers," Vilsack stated in a release. "Our communities will have additional support to attract new economic opportunity and create jobs."
Factbox: Key points on the farm bill
A U.S. farm bill was passed by the
The following are some provisions of the wide-ranging legislation, which comprises everything from food stamps and farm subsidies to meat labeling and crop insurance
Food stamps Funding for the
Liberal lawmakers argued against the reduction at a time of relatively high unemployment. Conservatives said the cuts did not go far enough in a program whose spending has more than doubled since 2008. The savings are expected to come from reducing benefits to people who are also enrolled in a federal heating assistance program. An estimated 850,000 households in 16 states and
Direct payments The legislation ends a nearly two-decade-old program of direct payments to farmers, which cost about
Country of origin labeling This provision, which has been around since the 2002 farm bill, requires meat sold in
Dairy There was a battle between Democratic Representative
King Amendment This amendment, intended to block a
Payment in lieu of taxes Rural counties in the West breathed a sigh of relief after the farm bill included a payment in lieu of taxes program (PILT), which pays local governments for the tax revenue they cannot collect on federal lands. The
Catfish U.S. catfish farmers and Southern lawmakers successfully fought to a keep a provision, first authorized in the 2008 farm bill, that shifted catfish inspection to the
Hemp research With marijuana laws loosening, supporters of industrial hemp saw an opening and pushed through a provision that allows colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on the crop in the nine states where it is legal.
Biofuel blender pumps A provision removes subsidies for fuel pumps in rural areas that blend gasoline with higher concentrations of biofuels, like corn-based ethanol. Ending the subsidies was a blow to the Obama administration, which in 2010 set a goal of helping gas station owners install blender pumps over the next five years to promote consumption of higher-ethanol gasoline.
Christmas tree 'tax' Fiscal conservatives are particularly incensed by a provision in the bill that imposes a
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