Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI):
“The bill passed by the House today is not a real Farm Bill and is an insult to rural America, which is why it’s strongly opposed by more than 500 farm, food and conservation groups. We will go to conference with the bipartisan, comprehensive Farm Bill that was passed in the Senate that not only reforms programs, supports families in need and creates agriculture jobs, but also saves billions more than the extremely flawed House bill.”
Statement from the American Soybean Association:
Earlier today, in a party-line vote of 216-208, the House of Representatives passed a stripped down version of the 2013 Farm Bill, containing only farm programs. American Soybean Association (ASA) President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., issued the following statement on the vote:
“ASA is relieved that we will finally see a conference on the farm bill. However today’s approval by the House on a partial bill will mean nothing if we can’t get a bill back from conference that both chambers will pass. In that sense, there is still much work to be done.
“ASA is opposed to the replacement of permanent law by whatever legislation may result from this process. If only Title 1 of a new farm bill is made permanent, other titles – including conservation, research, energy and trade – would risk not being reauthorized when the bill expires after five years, since Title 1 would remain in place. Also, we are very concerned that Title 1 of a new bill could include provisions that would distort plantings and production in years of low prices, and that it would be extremely difficult to change these provisions if the legislation were made permanent.
“ASA now calls on both the House and Senate to work in a bipartisan manner to craft a conference bill that has the ability to pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the President before September 30 when existing authorities for important risk management, trade expansion, conservation, bio-energy, and agricultural research authorities all expire.”
Official Statement from the National Sorghum Producers:
National Sorghum Producers Chairman Terry Swanson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives’ passage of the split version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013:
“While the road leading to this point in the farm bill process is unconventional, National Sorghum Producers supports the revised bill that was before Congress today and thanks the Members of the House of Representatives for passing the bill. We stand behind the leadership of Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and his decision to move forward in this way as a means to getting a bill to conference committee that will ultimately result in a comprehensive, five-year farm bill.”
Official Statement from the National Association of Wheat Growers:
A statement from National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President Bing Von Bergen, a wheat farmer from Moccasin, Mont.:
“I was pleased to see the House approve moments ago farm, conservation, research, trade promotion and energy measures as part of a revised farm bill product. Splitting the agriculture and nutrition portions of the traditional farm law is a concern of ours. At the same time, we are pleased the House can now move to a conference process with the Senate and work toward a product that can be approved by both chambers and President Obama before the current farm bill extension expires.
“The situation this legislation is in is no one’s ideal scenario. However, we have faith our ag leaders will continue their diligent efforts to get in place the safety net our farmers and all consumers need, and we stand ready to help them do so.”
Statement from the National Corn Growers Association (Released during Thursday’s Farm Bill Debate and before vote):
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives voting on the split version of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (2013 farm bill):
“The farm bill affects every American; those who eat and those who produce. We view the proposed actions to be taken on the floor of the House today with disappointment. Legislation that for decades has been a bright spot for how our Congress should work – in a bipartisan, bicameral manner – is now stuck in a morass of petty bickering and political gamesmanship. We do not believe that the link between farm programs and nutrition programs should be severed. We see benefits beyond the political in keeping the ties between those who produce food and those who need it.
“Moreover, we have serious disagreement with Title I of the legislation the House will consider today. We should not miss the opportunity to work towards meaningful reform of agricultural policy that is more market oriented and less costly to the American taxpayer. Additionally we oppose the move to repeal the 1949 permanent farm bill law. The actions surrounding the deliberation of this farm bill prove that the Congress must have some mechanism to force action.
“While we disagree with the policies of the legislation and are dismayed with the process that leads us to this sad situation, we see no other way to move the farm bill to a conference with the Senate unless the House approves the bill before it today.
“We urge members of the House to approve the bill and we expect immediate action by a conference committee to secure a five year farm bill we can support. However, our action in no way reflects our approval of its contents or the manner in which it came to the floor. Unless significant change is made to the bill in the conference committee, we will strongly urge its rejection by the Senate and the House.”
Official Statement from the American Farm Bureau Federation:
“The American Farm Bureau Federation looks forward to moving ahead with fundamental farm policy legislation, following House passage today of H.R. 2642. While we don’t yet know what the next steps will be, we will be working with both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress to ensure passage of a new five-year farm bill.
“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.”
Official Statement from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association:
The U.S. House of Representatives in a 216 to 208 vote passed the 2013 Farm Bill (H.R. 2642) today. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George, a beef and dairy producer from Cody, Wyo., issued the following statement on the passage of the legislation:
“First, we thank House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas of Oklahoma, who in this very difficult environment produced a farm bill that passed out of the House and continues the process toward providing farmers and ranchers the certainty they need. Passage of a 2013 Farm Bill is the top priority for NCBA, and today the House took the unprecedented step in separating the nutrition title from the farm bill, and passing a bill that only encompasses agriculture. This step is a major departure from the usual business of agricultural policy, but I am pleased that cattlemen and women are one step closer toward final legislation which not only provides certainty for producers, but also incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry.
“We are very pleased that this legislation includes disaster programs for our producers, which will extend disaster assistance for five years and retroactively covers losses in 2012 and 2013. The legislation authorizes conservation programs important to cattle producers as a tool to leverage private dollars with some federal support to further protect the land and natural resources. It contains language to prevent the United States Department of Agriculture from moving forward on the proposed GIPSA rule from the 2008 Farm Bill.
“There are also important amendments included in the legislation which rein in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These amendments provide regulatory relief to cattle producers, prevent EPA from releasing producers’ personal information to third parties such as environmental activist groups and prohibit EPA from regulating forest roads under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
“NCBA appreciates the efforts of Chairman Frank Lucas, Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota and their committee members who worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass a bill out of the Agriculture Committee. We will continue to work with the House and Senate conferees to ensure the final bill meets the priorities of America’s cattle industry.”
Official Statement from the National Farmers Union:
(NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement today following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013:
“Today’s strictly partisan vote to pass the farm bill apart from the nutrition title undermines the long-time coalition of support for a unified, comprehensive farm bill which has historically been written on a bipartisan basis.
“NFU will continue to do all it can to get a reasonable bill through the conference process. Any final legislation must continue existing permanent law provisions and include meaningful safety net protections for both family farmers facing difficult times and the food insecure.”
Official Statement from the National Association of Conservation Districts:
“Based upon the unprecedented action of the House today, we are hopeful that the Farm Bill process will move forward. We urge the House and Senate to come together to find a common ground that will benefit the future of our natural resource base. Our nation’s farmers and landowners deserve to have long-term certainty to effectively and efficiently manage their land, resources and businesses for the years ahead.”
Official Statement from Ducks Unlimited:
In rapid succession, U.S. House leadership announced earlier this week a split of the farm bill into separate agriculture and nutrition pieces, and voted today on the agriculture portion. It passed with a final tally of 216-208.
“Ducks Unlimited is disappointed that the House has failed to listen to the strong coalition of agricultural and conservation groups that asked for a comprehensive farm bill,” said DU CEO Dale Hall.
Amendments that were accepted on the House floor during the farm bill debate in June were included in the newly separated agriculture bill, which included the commodities, conservation, crop insurance, energy, forestry and research titles. Among those amendments was one prohibiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from requiring wetland mitigation that is equivalent to the function and value of a lost wetland. The amendment restricts the USDA explicitly to an acre for acre standard.
“The House farm bill, even in its intact form, didn’t make conservation a priority,” said Hall. “The wetland amendment in particular is not good-science based policy because it ignores the value of individual wetlands. A small wetland may provide habitat, trap sediment and clean water while the mitigated land only traps sediment. This amendment calls all wetlands equal, which is like saying a golf course pond is the same as a coastal marsh.”
The House passed-agriculture bill includes a regional Sodsaver provision, applying only to the Prairie Pothole Region states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The Senate farm bill’s Sodsaver program would apply nationally. Both programs would reduce federal subsidy on any new cropland acres put into production as a result of breaking grassland that had no previous cropping history.
Missing in this House agriculture bill is a provision re-coupling conservation compliance to crop insurance, which is contained in the bipartisan Senate-passed bill. The conservation and agriculture communities joined together earlier this year to support re-coupling to help ensure the long-term sustainability of wetland habitats that help keep our waters clean, prevent soil erosion and provide critical habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.
“Ducks Unlimited was among the 532 agriculture and conservation organizations that sent a letter to Speaker Boehner asking the House for bipartisan support of a comprehensive, intact farm bill,” Hall said. “Again, it is extremely frustrating that a coalition of such a number of broad interests can find common ground in our need for long-term agriculture policy, and a Congressional body of almost 100 fewer members chooses to ignore our recommendation. This halved bill leaves the farm bill with no clear path to a conference result with the comprehensive Senate-passed farm bill.”
The full House farm bill was unexpectedly defeated in a 195-234 vote last month. Besides the removal of the nutrition title, the one clear difference in the agriculture bill passed today is that it repeals the 1949 laws as permanent and replaces them with the new Title I law. This leaves the fate of agriculture conservation programs very uncertain.