The Senate passed a new farm bill on Thursday by a vote of 64-35. Mary Kay Thatcher with the American Farm Bureau Federation says the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act eliminated direct payments, but included provisions to protect and strengthen crop insurance, a viable marketing loan program and other risk management tools. The bill also allows producers to follow market signals. However, she says it did not retain target prices, which may be added in the House version.
Thatcher says leadership is proposing changing the name of target prices to reference prices. However, regardless of what you call them it will be tough to get target prices through the full House. It may also be difficult to get a final bill passed before the August recess with a vote scheduled in the House Ag Committee July 11..
The Senate version cut $23 billion, but the House is proposing $33 billion in cuts. This and other difference will need to be worked out in conference.
South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal says they are also pleased with the passage. He hopes they’ll be able to fix some of their concerns with the bill in the House, including tying crop insurance payments to conservation compliance.
House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas says the legislation must be fair to all farming regions in the U.S. and a one-size-fits-all approach like the Senate bill won’t work.