"By cutting more than $16 billion from SNAP and more than $6 billion from environmental programs, the House bill will leave more than 2 million people without enough food to eat and contribute to the loss of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands. What's more, the bill guts rules that protect water quality and wetlands from pesticides, weakens federal reviews of biotech crops, and undermines the ability of states to set consumer safety or environmental standards.
"Rather than provide a true safety net for all farmers, the House bill will give every big subsidized grower a raise in the form of higher price guarantees for their crops at a time when large commercial farms have average household incomes of more than $200,000 a year and net farm income has nearly doubled. Instead of placing reasonable limits on crop insurance subsidies, the Lucas-Peterson proposal actually expands them at a cost of more than $9 billion. Reasonable reforms such as payment limits, means testing and administrative reforms which are applied to nutrition assistance but not crop insurance could save taxpayers more than $20 billion."
On July 3, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled, Farm Programs: Direct Payments Should Be Reconsidered (GAO-12-640, Jul 3, 2012). GAO recommended that Congress should consider eliminating or reducing direct payments [See WIMS 7/3/12].
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman issued a statement saying, "As the congressional calendar ticks down, time is of the essence. There are very few days remaining for this bill to be completed, but we need a new farm bill this year. We are committed to working with members of Congress to secure a bill that works for all Americans. For more than a year, we have been advocating farm policy that protects and strengthens risk management programs for all farmers. This legislation maintains proven program features such as the marketing loan provision and strengthens the crop insurance program while setting a clear example of fiscal responsibility with significant but fair reductions in agriculture spending over the next decade
"Just as with the Senate farm bill, there are provisions we think could be improved and we will continue working with leadership of both committees as the process moves forward. But at a time when bipartisan compromise is such a challenge in Washington, it is refreshing to see agriculture, through our elected leaders, set a clear example of working together on building a package of reforms in a fiscally responsible manner. We remain hopeful a farm bill can be completed and sent to President Obama before the current programs expire September 30."
Access the statement from the House Ag Committee and link to more information on the FARRM bill (click here). Access the statement from EWG and link to the full press briefing (click here). Access the statement from AFBF (click here). Access the legislative details for H.R.6083 (click here). Access the legislative details for S.3240 (click here). Access the complete 57-page GAO report (click here). [#Agriculture, #Land, #Water, #Energy]
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