Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Farm Bill
Today the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the farm bill with a vote of 15 to 5. The bill included conservation compliance, requiring farmers to adopt basic environmental practices if they receive crop insurance subsidies, but failed to reform the costly crop insurance program. Reform amendments are expected on the Senate floor, including an amendment from Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) to cut subsidies to insurance companies.
The New York Times writes:
The most significant change in the bill is the end of direct payments to farmers and farmland owners, who have traditionally been paid whether they grow crops or not. The program costs about $5 billion a year.
The new farm bill would use the savings from eliminating direct payments to increase financing for crop insurance, a federally subsidized program that pays 62 percent of the premiums for farmers and covers decreases in crop yields or revenue. Several conservative groups and environmental organizations oppose crop insurance, which they say amounts to income protection, rather than protection against crop losses due to drought or other natural disasters. Senators did, for the first time, add conservation requirements and set income limits for the recipients of crop insurance.
Read more at AgMag.
For more coverage on the farm bill approved by the Senate today, click here.
Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tom Petri (R-WI) will introduce a bill tomorrow that will make meaningful reforms to crop insurance, while saving taxpayer dollars and promoting transparency.
Look for more details in tomorrow’s Policy Plate.
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