What is in this article?:
- Senate passes new farm bill
- Senate passes new farm bill Tuesday afternoon.
- Vote tally: 68 to 32.
- Bill headed to Obama desk for signature.
SEN. THAD COCHRAN, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, discusses the 2014 farm bill at a news conference following the Senate vote that provided final approval for the legislation. The White House has indicated that the bill will be signed into law on Friday. Also pictured are Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (Senate Photo Studio)
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate passed a new farm bill on a 68 to 32 vote. To become law, the legislation now only needs President Obama’s pen stroke.
The Senate passage follows last week’s House approval of the legislation on a final tally of 251 to 166.
“This is not your father’s farm bill,” said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “It’s a new direction for American agriculture policy. Major reforms will be implemented and direct payments will finally come to an end. The bill supports the transition Americans are already making to a healthier, more locally based food system. This is also one of the largest investments in land and water conservation we’ve made in many years.
“And we were able to protect food assistance for families in need of support, while finding savings solely by focusing on fraud and misuse.
“This bill truly touches every American -- from the food we eat, to the air we breathe and the water we drink.”
Following Senate approval, Stabenow’s House counterpart, Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, said “I am pleased the Senate passed the conference report and put us another step closer to enacting a new farm bill. I commend Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member (Mississippi Sen. Thad) Cochran on their efforts throughout this process. We worked together to give certainty and sound policy to our agricultural producers; deliver taxpayers billions of dollars in savings; and provide consumers the affordable and reliable food supply they have grown accustomed to.”
The $1 trillion bill does away with direct payments to producers while increasing crop insurance backing. The legislation will allow producers the choice between a revenue program covering price and yield losses and a price support program that would allow additional insurance coverage under a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).
Shortly prior to the Senate vote, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor spoke on the floor in favor of the bill. “I’m happy to report that finally this bill overcame the partisan gridlock we’ve seen here in Washington. Last year, the House blew up this bill on a kind of ‘my way or the highway’ politics. I thought that was very unfortunate. But here we are today with a bipartisan farm bill, one that got a huge vote in the House. I hope it gets a huge vote in the Senate.”
Pryor continued: “This bill is important to the nation’s economy and future. Agriculture is something we do better than anyone else in the world. … No one does agriculture better. Our farmers, producers, agribusinesses do incredible work. We’re literally the envy of the world.”