The Chair of the House Ag Committee, Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., have released the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill that they're calling the Farm Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act. FARRM is being called a "bipartisan bill that saves taxpayers billions, reduces the nation's deficit , and repeals outdated policies while reforming, streamlinging and consolidating others," the press statement says.
The Senate version of the Farm Bill, passed two weeks ago, would save $23.6 billion, the House version would save $35 billion.
In the statement, Lucas says his and Peterson's efforts "over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery."
Peterson says that Congress "needs to complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires, otherwise we jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation's fragile economy." In the statement Peterson points out that there is a commodity title in place that will "work for all parts of the country as well as continued support for the sugar program and my Dairy Security Act."
The text of the bill can be found at this link. Some of the highlights include:
Here are some key highlights from the committee's release FARRM:
- saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
- repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
- eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
- improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
- consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
- provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.
The House Agriculture Committee will consider the legislation during a business meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 11.
Key points of contention include the $16 billion savings in SNAP - the Senate version would cut spending by $4.5 billion over 10 years; and the "$35 billion in mandatory funding" will also be under scrutiny.
National Corn Grower Association President Garry Niemeyer issued the following statement on news of the House Farm Bill being released: "The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to see the House Agriculture Committee propose their version of the 2012 farm bill. Our board is assessing similarities and differences between the legislation and our grower-developed policy. NCGA continues to call on Congress to pass a new farm bill this year."