The Farm Bill passed through the Senate Ag Committee in April and it passed a full Senate vote on whether to consider the massive bill on the floor with broad bi-partisan support late last week, 90-8.
NFU reports that senators may have as many as 300 floor amendments to offer on the bill, but that through behind the scenes negotiation the package of amendments will probably be cut down to 40 or less.
NFU President Roger Johnson recently lead a coalition of more than 125 food and consumer groups in calling for the Senate to quickly pass the 2012 Farm Bill – citing the fact that many current programs are expiring or are in danger of expiring.
“This strongly bipartisan bill ensures that agriculture does its part to reduce the deficit, cutting spending by $23 billion, while still maintaining a safety net that family farmers and ranchers need,” Johnson said.
“Some farm bill programs have already expired, and the rest expire on Sept. 30. It is critical to pass a farm bill as soon as possible so that Americans have the agriculture, conservation, environmental, forestry, hunger, and rural development programs that they need. While many of us will continue to work for improvements in the bill, we all agree that we need a farm bill this year,” Johnson said.
Most media reports of the Farm Bill’s move through the Senate have been focusing on the shift away from direct payments to farmers in favor of a larger crop insurance program. Farmers would be able to insure against poor yields and declines in prices as well as environmental calamity. Another hot topic is cuts to the food stamp program.