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Farm Bill Analysis
Contact: Megan Ritter, 317-692-7833 or mritter@infarmbureau.org

This week Indiana Farm Bureau was in Washington D.C. working with Senators Lugar and Coats to pass the Senate version of the farm bill. More work will be done to get the House bill through committee in the coming weeks. The highlights and areas Farm Bureau will be working to fix in the House are outlined here.

The Senate completed voting on numerous amendments to S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, and passed 64-35 with bipartisan support.

Farm Bureau was successful on the following priority amendments:

  • Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) #2156 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment would have eliminated the $4 billion reduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and added $50 million annually to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to the current $150 million authorization. The budget offset would have been paid for by cuts to the administrative expenses for the crop insurance program. The amendment failed 33-66. Lugar and Coats opposed.
  • Paul (R-Ky.) #2181 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment would have imposed a $250,000 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) means test for all programs in the farm bill, including conservation. The amendment failed 15-84. Lugar and Coats opposed.
  • Sanders (I-VT) #2310 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment allowed states to implement their own food labeling laws regarding products containing GMOs. The amendment failed 26-73. Lugar and Coats opposed.
  • Klobuchar (D-Minn.) #2299 – Farm Bureau supports. The amendment commissions a study of rural transportation issues by the secretary of transportation and the secretary of agriculture. It also directs the secretary of agriculture to participate on behalf of the interest of agriculture and rural America in all policy development proceedings of the Surface Transportation Board that may establish freight rail transportation policy affecting agriculture and rural America. Effective and efficient transportation is important for a vibrant U.S. agricultural industry. In addition, representation at STB proceedings will help provide standing for agricultural producers and hopefully will attempt to address captive rail issues for rural areas. Passed by voice vote.
  • DeMint (R-S.C.) #2276 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment would have prohibited any program to promote and provide research and information for a particular agricultural commodity without reference to specific producers or brands (a check-off program) from being mandatory or compulsory. The amendment failed 20-79.

Farm Bureau has concern on the following amendments as passed:

  • Chambliss (R-Ga.) #2438 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment will require conservation compliance as a requisite for purchasing federal crop insurance. The amendment passed 52-47.
  • Grassley (R-Iowa) #2167 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment will establish payment limits for marketing loans and loan deficiency payments at $75,000 a year for individual farmers and $100,000 a year for couples. The amendment passed 75-24.
  • Durbin-Coburn #2439 – Farm Bureau opposed. The amendment will impose a decrease in the premium subsidy for crop insurance for any person with an AGI greater than $750,000 and will require the secretary to study the effects before implementing. In addition, their amendment will require a showing of a “significant” increase in premium costs to producers under the AGI limit and only allows consideration of any increase in the total cost of the program in the secretary’s determination regarding effectiveness. The amendment passed 66-33. Lugar and Coats opposed.