House and Senate Agriculture Committees completed work this week on their respective versions of the 2013 Farm Bill. Highlights of both markups are below. Major differences exist between the bills, primarily on nutrition and commodity programs. A significant development in the Senate bill was the committee’s support for reattachment of conservation compliance to crop insurance premium assistance, and removal of crop insurance limits from the committee bill. This has been a hard-fought agreement and support for conservation compliance is now needed in the Senate to keep those provisions intact.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated the Senate will take up the Farm Bill beginning on Monday, May 20 so time is of the essence in getting contacts made to Senate offices. A host of amendments are anticipated to place means testing on crop insurance (Durbin-Coburn), cap or even eliminate premium support (Shaheen-Toomey, Flake, Feinstein-McCain), and to publish farmer information on crop insurance assistance. Amendments are also anticipated from Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. to strip conservation compliance and wetland protections from the bill. AFT has worked with partners on the agreement to develop a handy Conservation Compliance FAQ to help answer questions about what the compliance agreement means.
Now to recap the week’s committee activities—More >>
American Farmland Trust Calls on House of Representatives to Remedy Two Conservation Issues in 2013 Farm Bill
American Farmland Trust (AFT) congratulates House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on successfully concluding the Committee’s draft of the 2013 Farm Bill.
AFT President Jon Scholl said, “The Committee bill is a critically important step toward the end goal we all share of a five-year farm bill. I congratulate Chairman Lucas and Representative Peterson on their work and leadership in moving the bill through committee.”More >>
Yesterday, a conservation milestone was reached. A historic compromise, bringing together agriculture and conservation groups, passed approval in the Senate Agriculture Committee with bipartisan support as the committee finalized their draft of a new five-year Farm Bill.
American Farmland Trust was a leader in brokering the non-partisan conservation compliance agreement included in the draft bill, helping bring together 32 major agriculture, crop insurance and conservation groups to provide a stronger safety net for farmers and for the environment.
The Farm Bill will be voted on by the full Senate in just a few days. Please contact your senators today. Ask them to support the conservation compliance agreement in the Farm Bill.More >>
A fast legislative sprint is ahead over the next few weeks as both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees release legislative language and begin consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has released a committee draft of the legislation which will be marked up next Tuesday, May 14 at 10 AM. That legislation could move to the Senate floor before Memorial Day. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has also released a committee draft which will be marked up next Wednesday, May 15 at 10 AM. Both drafts contain many provisions from the 2012 House and Senate farm bills.
Below is a quick rundown of the respective committee drafts.More >>
Although Congress has been in recess this week, there has been considerable activity surrounding the 2013 Farm Bill on Capitol Hill as staff and farm lobbyists prepare for the agriculture committees to begin mark up of a new five-year bill as early as next week. No official dates have been announced, but the Senate Agriculture committee is widely expected to go first, followed by the House Agriculture committee by mid-May. Secretary Tom Vilsack has said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to get to work and help in any way to get a new five-year bill passed.
You can help, too, by sending a message to your members of Congress that you support farmland conservation in the farm bill!More >>