Indiana Farm Bureau
February 4, 2014
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IFB pleased with Congress’ passage of a new farm bill
It is with relief that Indiana Farm Bureau’s 70,000 farmer members salute Congress’ passage of a new farm bill, which passed the Senate today on a 68-32 vote after earlier passing the House 251-166. It will now go to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 will provide farmers and ranchers certainty for the coming year and allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin planning for implementation of the bill’s provisions, said IFB President Don Villwock, a grain farmer from Knox County.
“No bill is perfect, and that includes this one,” Villwock said. “But it does provide additional risk management tools for grain, livestock and fruit and vegetable farmers while still saving taxpayers’ money – about $23 billion over 10 years.” Most of the savings come from the elimination of direct cash payments to farmers.
Farmers desperately needed to know what to expect from the federal farm program before making planting decisions this spring, Villwock noted. The bill that was passed today does provide a degree of assurance and stability, he said.
Villwock also expressed appreciation to the conferees, who have been working for months to craft a bipartisan compromise, and to the members of the Indiana congressional delegation who voted for the bill. It has been a long and drawn-out process and their efforts to listen and to be supportive of needed reforms is much appreciated, Villwock said.
“It’s been a long, hard debate,” Villwock noted. “The most important role of a farm bill is providing a basic, no-frills safety net for farmers when times are hard, and we believe that even with its flaws, this bill will do just that.”