The USA Rice Foundation, a major advocacy group for American rice farmers, is joining with several other Southern farm advocacy groups in praising the House Farm Bill and urging its eventual passage.
While the Senate farm bill passed out of the Agriculture Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support (support that remained consistent during debate on the full Senate floor), the bill bitterly divided various regions of the country, pitting farmer against farmers. In particular, Southern farmers and politicians felt that the Senate bill favored Midwestern interests, focusing too much attention on protecting corn farmers while undermining safety nets for cotton, rice, and peanut farmers.
Recently, the cotton industry issued statements praising the bill. Now the rice industry, a major Southern staple, is joining in the praise, lauding the House bill for the attention it pays to the specific needs of regional farmers and stating in an official statement that, “The House Agriculture Committee’s Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to farm policy is not workable for all producers and regions.”
The House bill offers a more flexible and regionally diverse form of crop insurance and crop subsidies than its counterpart in the Senate. However, these programs are paid for through sharp cuts to various nutritional programs like food stamps. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the Senate will approve these cuts.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer