Senate Agriculture Committee approves farm bill

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 14, 2013 - The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee approved today, on a 15-5 vote, a five-year farm bill after senators offered several amendments, but did not make any major changes to its draft bill.

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Supporters say the legislation would save more than $23 billion over 10 years through the elimination of direct payments and cuts to nutrition programs. However, about $6 billion of that savings would come from the effects of sequestration, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“Reforming agriculture programs will save taxpayers billions of dollars while helping farmers, ranchers and small businesses create American jobs,” said Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. “Because the [Senate] Agriculture Committee worked across party lines to streamline programs, we were able to save tax dollars while investing in initiatives that help boost exports, help family farmers sell locally and spur innovations in new bio-manufacturing and bio-energy industries.”

The bill now moves to the Senate floor, and supporters expect that to happen during the week of May 20.

Committee ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., called the final committee product a bipartisan effort and he expects a similar approach on the floor.

“I think it is important that we move the bill through the Congress and to the President for his signature,” Cochran said. “Farmers and ranchers need the certainty that comes from a five-year farm bill. We have tried to be fair to those affected by this bill, as well as to those who pay the bill.”

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