ICYMI: News Coverage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act

Senate Farm Bill is Major Reform

“The farm bill, headed for the Senate floor Thursday, would cut spending by $23.6 billion over a decade, mostly by pruning payments that farmland owners get regardless of whether they plant crops… If signed into law, the subsidy cuts would mark one of the biggest changes to farm policy in years.” – The Wall Street Journal, 6/7/12

“[The Farm Bill is] genuinely a landmark shift…away from direct cash payments to farmers – a much-criticized system begun in the mid-90s – and toward a more market-oriented approach keyed to crop insurance... ” – Politico, 6/12/12

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill… which represents one of the biggest policy changes in generations.” – Bloomberg, 4/26/2012


Farm Bill Provides Significant Deficit Reduction

“The farm bill…was always a bloated, contentious piece of legislation that grew larger and more expensive as it lumbered through Congress. But the farm bill…is a considerably slimmed-down version of previous incarnations. It would slash tens of billions of dollars in direct subsidies to farmers and in the federal food stamp program… The bill, which sets the nation’s agricultural and food policy for the next five years, enjoys rare bipartisan support and could?be the only significant piece of deficit-reduction legislation to gain congressional approval this year.” - Washington Post, 6/7/12

“Most of the $23.6 billion in savings come from eliminating such notorious subsidies as the “direct payment” program…. The cuts represent not only systemic reform but also more than twice the agriculture savings that the Simpson-Bowles commission proposed.” – Washington Post Editorial, 6/11/12

“The bill delivers more deficit reduction than required by the Budget Control Act and more than recommended by Bowles-Simpson or the Gang of 6.” – Agri-pulse 6/4/12

Senate Farm Bill Streamlines Government, Increases Accountability

“[The Farm Bill] would end direct payments to farmers... Conservation programs would be streamlined, and… the bill eliminates 100 individual programs that had been included in the 2008 farm bill...” – Agri-pulse 6/4/12

“All together…more than 100 programs have been eliminated and the remaining programs will be easier to use….” – The Hagstrom Report, 6/4/12

[N]othing says government waste quite like a lottery winner on food stamps….Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) and ranking GOP member Pat Roberts (R- Kan.) have put together a bipartisan farm bill that addresses concerns about food stamp waste, fraud and abuse.” – Washington Post, 6/13/2012

“[The Farm Bill] consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, while boosting investment in … high-priority projects.” – The Detroit News, 4/26/12

Farm Bill has Rare Bipartisan Support

“Who says that the Senate can’t get anything done? On Thursday, it voted 90-8 to open debate on a bill that could actually cut projected spending on Agriculture Department programs.… And the Agriculture Committee approved the bill on a bipartisan basis.” – Washington Post Editorial, 6/11/12

“[D]espite the standoff on tax legislation and changes in entitlement programs, bipartisan legislation has moved ahead in Congress in recent weeks. Consider, for example, the farm bill the Senate is debating this week, the product of a partnership between Agriculture Committee chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. ‘The Agriculture Committee historically has been the least partisan committee in the Congress,’ Roberts told C-SPAN on Sunday. He lavished praise on Stabenow, saying, ‘What’s the number one thing you hear back home: ‘Why can’t you all back there (in Washington) work together?’ Why can’t we get along and actually produce something – and we have.’”  -MSNBC.com 6/12/12

“[B]ipartisanship will face its first test with…the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012.” – The National Journal, 6/4/12

“[T]he [Farm] bill... is supported by more than 125 farm and healthy eating groups and almost 650 conservation groups.” – The Hagstrom Report, 6/4/12

Farm Bill is Critical to Jobs in Many Areas of the Economy

“Stabenow emphasized that this is a ‘jobs bill’ because every one billion in agricultural exports translates into 8,400 American jobs…” – Agri-pulse 6/4/12

“Could fruit and vegetable growers, renewable-energy producers, foresters, conservationists, and agriculture researchers help garner the 60 votes needed to overcome the threat of a Senate filibuster of the farm bill, even while commodity groups continue to squabble over the crop program?… Most of the focus on the farm-bill debate has been on the commodity title that covers crop subsidies, but…the other 11 titles of the bill contain programs that benefit many stakeholders, and… most of the beneficiaries of those programs are pleased with the package…more than 600 conservation groups have endorsed the bill… The bill also maintains programs to help beginning farmers and a new program to help returning veterans farm.” – National Journal, 5/21/2012

The Farm Bill is important to those directly affected by it: in the case of the farm bill, not only farmers, but food processors, farm equipment manufacturers, the people who run food banks, etc.” –MSNBC

“Farm legislation would create and fund a labeling program for consumer products made from crops…such as soy beans and corn. It also would expand a federal bio-refinery loan program to include bio-based manufacturers…to encourage businesses to build new facilities or expand existing operations.” – Mlive, 5/30/12

What’s at Stake

“The stakes are big: a bipartisan bill promising real savings and impacting an important part of the economy. Failure of the Senate to act would kill any chance of House action this summer, as well as invite chaos when the current farm law expires Sept. 30…But proponents are battling a mindset that nothing will get done before the November elections and better to seek short-term political advantage with amendments.” – Politico, 6/12/2012