FARM BILL: U.S. Senate Passes 5-Year Legislation

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Halfway through 2013 and congress is finally making some headway on unfinished business from 2012. Both of Iowa’s senators are pleased with the 5-year farm bill which passed by a 66-27 vote in the U.S. Senate.

They say the bipartisan bill continues many of the efforts of past farm bills, closes loopholes, and reduces federal spending.

“While I continue to have concerns about the potential impacts of the shallow loss and target price programs created in this farm bill, I would also agree with the overwhelming sentiment from Iowa farmers that they need to have certainty.  A five-year farm bill that includes my payment limit reforms, maintains the crop insurance program, and streamlines conservation programs gives that certainty,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.

The half-a-trillion dollar bill cuts some direct subsidies for farmers and makes small cuts to food stamp programs.

“I am also pleased that this bill continues funding for initiatives from past farm bills that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to schools across the country.  I regret, however, that this legislation reduces funding for nutrition assistance to low-income Americans and will work to mitigate cuts to nutrition assistance programs as the legislative process moves forward,” Senator Tom Harkin said.

The bill now moves to the U.S. House, they are expected to take up the issue later this month. House leaders are promising big changes to the senate version of the bill.

The government is currently operating under an extension of the 2007 farm bill that expired in September 2012.

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