Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) discussed Farm Bill issues on the Senate floor on Monday.
In part, Sen. Brown noted that, “People who are going to receive federally subsidized crop insurance need to show they are meeting basic conservation requirements. Again, the days of subsidies without conditions and subsidies without responsibility are over. It is an example of what can happen when groups with different perspectives— the commodities farmers and the conservationists -come together to listen to each other. By relinking crop insurance subsidies with good environmental practices, this bill makes our farm safety net more defensible and protects our natural resources.”
On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) discussed the Farm Bill on the Senate floor.
In part, Sen. Cochran noted that, “The committee has crafted reforms in the nutrition title to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These are big challenges, and these challenges have been met with a recognition that there are people who need the support of programs such as this—schoolchildren who are attending school and getting the benefit of a reduced price and, in some cases, free meals at school. This has made major contributions to the quality of work and the degree and level of education that children are able to absorb and benefit from, and it is tied to these programs.”
On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) discussed the Farm Bill on the Senate floor.
In part, Chairwoman Stabenow noted that, “That is why we have what we call the farm bill. We have a farm bill because farmers are in the riskiest business in the world. We saw that last year as our country was in the grip of the worst drought in generations. We saw this as ranchers had to cull their herds because they couldn’t get enough food or water for their cattle. We saw all across the country that farmers lost their crops in late spring freezes that wiped out cherry and apple crops in Michigan and other parts of the country. That is why the top goal of the agriculture reform bill is risk management. We are reforming farm programs, ending direct payments and other subsidies that have no relationship to risk and instead giving farmers market-based risk management tools. That is the hallmark of this farm bill.
“We want to make sure a farm that has been passed on for generations doesn’t face bankruptcy because of a drought or other events outside the farmer’s control. We also want to make sure that when there is a drought we are conserving our precious soil and water resources. When it comes to conservation, the farm bill is risk management for the whole country. Conservation programs in the farm bill make sure our soil doesn’t blow away and our waters aren’t polluted by runoff.
“In many parts of the country last year we had a drought that was worse than the Dust Bowl, but we didn’t have a dust bowl. We didn’t have out-of-control erosion, and that is because the farm bill did what it was supposed to do in conservation. Soil stayed on the ground. It is easy to take that for granted as well.”
From C-SPAN Online (May 20): Alan Bjerga talked about the ten-year farm bill being worked on in Congress, and he responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. The legislation funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps.” program. Topics included the differing House and Senate versions of the bill, the number of Americans who could be affected by SNAP cuts, and calls for better management and oversight.
A floor schedule update posted recently at the Senate Democrats webpage indicated that, “The Senate stands in adjournment until 2:00pm on Monday, May 20, 2013. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business until 3:00pm.
“Following morning business, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of S.954, the Farm bill.”
Also on Friday, The Mississippi Business Journal Blog reported that, “Politics, agriculture, and the economy were the hot topics on a rainy Delta morning as hundreds gathered for the 78th annual meeting of Delta Council, Friday, May 17, on the campus of Delta State University…[F]ollowing the business session of the annual meeting, United States Senator Thad Cochran introduced United States Senator from Michigan and Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition Debbie Stabenow as the featured speaker.”