Farm Bill Moves
July 12, 2012
The House Agriculture Committee worked some 15 hours before passing its 2012 farm bill at around midnight Wednesday night. The vote was 35 to 11, and came after votes on some 100 amendments. Like the Senate bill passed last month, the farm bill ends direct payments to farmers, but unlike the Senate, it gives farmers a choice of either a shallow-loss, or a target price-based counter-cyclical program. The bill cuts spending by $35 billion over ten years. A provision to cut $16 billion in food stamps spurred considerable debate, and is expected to spur even more if and when the bill goes to the House floor.
According to John Keeling, co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, the House Agriculture Committee has preserved the policies that positively impact the employers, workers and families dependent on a strong specialty crop industry in its version of the farm bill. However, members of the Alliance are disappointed that the House bill makes a significant policy change to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which has demonstrated the benefits of providing access to healthful fresh produce to millions of America’s school children.