Senate Leaders Optimistic About Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have recently expressed optimism about the passage of the 2012 Farm Bill, stating that the omnibus legislation is receiving broad bipartisan support from the full Senate.

After months of delay, the 2012 Farm Bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee late last month in a 16-5 vote. Among the provisions of the bill is a $24 billion reduction in agricultural spending, the strengthening of crop insurance programs, and the elimination of direct payment farm subsidies, a move that has upset some Southern farmers who see direct payments as their most stable agricultural safety net. The five no votes came from Southern senators.

Part of the Senate optimism is the result of a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to push the bill forward. Nearly half of the Senate cosigned the letter, leading to widespread hope that once the bill precedes to a vote it should pass easily.

According to Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow, “We had overwhelming bipartisan support coming out of committee and we’re seeing (the same) on the floor. People are very pleased to see we’ve come together around a farm bill that represents the most significant reform in American agricultural policy in decades.”

Both Stabenow and ranking Ag Committee member Senator Pat Roberts have spoken to Majority Leader Harry Reid who has pledged to bring the bill forward soon.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer