Members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee have passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act in a 36-10 vote. The bill will now head to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration.
The legislation would repeal more than 100 programs and make a variety of other changes to U.S. agricultural policy.
“I am proud of the committee's effort to advance a farm bill with significant savings and reforms,” said Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Oka., chairman of the committee, in a written statement. “We achieve nearly $40 billion in savings by eliminating outdated government programs and reforming others."
“With today’s action, I’m optimistic the farm bill will continue through regular order and be brought to the House floor in June. If we can stay on track, I think we should be able to conference with the Senate in July and have a new five-year farm bill in place before the August recess,” added Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the committee.
The American Soybean Association has applauded the committee’s passage of the bill.
“The House bill contains several key ASA priorities, including provisions to strengthen crop insurance and continue our overseas marketing programs,” said Danny Murphy, ASA president and soybean farmer.
“We remain concerned with the bill’s inclusion of a price-based program under which payments are tied to current plantings, and the potential planting distortions this program could cause if market prices fall,” he noted. “That said, we believe these differences can be ironed out, either on the House floor or in conference with the Senate.”
Murphy noted that ASA was particularly pleased that Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, offered and spoke to an amendment that would have decoupled payments under the Price Loss Coverage program from current-year plantings in order to avoid production distortions.