The chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committtee released a “discussion draft” of what they hope to see in the 2012 farm bill today. Their FARRM proposal would save $35 billion in mandatory spending on farm and nutrition programs.

Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota said their Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act repeals outdated policies while reforming, streamlining, and consolidating others.

"I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson,” Lucas said in press release issued by the Ag Committee. “Our 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.”

 “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,” said Peterson in the same release. “The legislation released today brings us yet another step closer to achieving this goal and I am pleased to have worked with the Chairman in this effort.

“We have 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. I have long believed every government program must contribute toward deficit reduction and while I would have found other ways to accomplish the bill’s nutrition savings, the bottom line is that, working together, we need to keep this farm bill moving forward.”

Peterson promised the bill will be passed out of the Ag Committee next week and, “if the House leadership gets this right and brings the bill to the floor, we will ultimately finish the bill in September,” he noted.

The text of the bill can be found at this link. Some of the highlights include:

  • FARRM saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
  • FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
  • FARRM eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
  • FARRM improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
  • FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
  • FARRM 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 next Wednesday.