The House's Thursday vote to approve a partial Farm Bill drew both praise and criticism from farm groups and legislators who closely watched dairy, subsidy and crop insurance reforms in the quickly drafted legislation.
The bill, H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, was called a "farm-only" farm bill by some, as it removed the nutrition title and instead focused mainly on crop insurance, farm subsidies, livestock disaster assistance and EPA protections.
The bill also dissolved 1938 and 1949 price support legislation and replaced it with 2013 provisions. The Goodlatte-Scott amendment to the Dairy Security Act, which eliminated the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, was also included.
Legislators proposed the split largely to avoid the staunch opposition to the $40 billion in cuts in the nutrition title.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., a champion of splitting the bill, said it would allow the House to focus on each matter – foods and farms – separately, effectively ending the partnership of rural and urban interests that the original farm bill created.
"For the first time since the 1970s, taxpayers will have an honest look at how Washington spends their money on agriculture and food stamp policy," Stutzman said.
While some groups saw the move as a benefit to achieve passage, others reluctantly signed on, with a "better than nothing" attitude.
“While we were hopeful the farm bill would not be split, nor permanent law repealed, we will now focus our efforts on working with lawmakers to deliver a farm bill to the president’s desk for his signature by September," pledged American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman.