US Senate approves Farm Bill – heads to Obama for OK

February 5, 2014 |

Following House passage, the five-year Farm Bill and its Energy Title head to the White House for assent.

In Washington, the U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to approve the bipartisan Farm Bill coauthored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The bill represents rare bipartisan agreement on legislation that would boost a major sector of the U.S. economy and create jobs across the country. The 2014 Farm Bill, which reduces the deficit by $23 billion and represents the most significant reform of American agriculture policy in decades, was approved by the House last week and will now head to the president for his signature.

“Many people said this would never happen in this environment, but Congress has come together to pass a major bipartisan jobs bill.  Congress has also passed a major reform and deficit reduction bill.  Both bills are the 2014 Farm Bill,” Chairwoman Stabenow said. “This effort proves that by working across party lines, we can save taxpayer money and create smart policies that lay the foundation for a stronger economy.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill. 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.

“It’s been a long road with many challenges.  I’m very proud that we maintained steadfast bipartisanship throughout this process.  In the end, Congress came together to support 16 million American jobs, save taxpayers billions and implement the most significant reforms to agriculture programs in decades.”

The Farm Bill, formally entitled the Agricultural Act of 2014, reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and other subsidy programs that pay farmers every year whether they need it or not.

The bill instead provides responsible risk management tools for farmers that support farmers only when there is need, such as a weather disaster.  This transformation provides the bulk of the Farm Bill’s deficit reduction. The Farm Bill also streamlines and consolidates programs to end duplication and make programs more efficient. These reforms allow for the strengthening of key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs.

The bill makes historic investments in conservation, bioenergy production, research, local and healthy food initiatives, organics and maintains critical food assistance for families in need.

Complete details on the Farm Bill’s Energy Title are here.

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