WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the House passed the five-year comprehensive Farm Bill package proposed by the bipartisan Farm Bill conference committee on Monday, Jan. 27. The Farm Bill now goes to the Senate for a full vote and then to President Obama for his signature, a process that legislators and agricultural groups hope to see completed no later than next week.
Now two years overdue, American agriculture has patiently waited for legislators to reach an agreement on the nearly $1 trillion piece of legislation that funds American agricultural programs through 2018, National Grange Legislative Director Grace Boatright said Wednesday.
“American agriculture has withstood uncertainty and economic instability for over two years in the absence of a renewed comprehensive Farm Bill. They’ve been unable to make valuable, long-term decisions regarding their businesses and unable to grant their households and local communities the resources they require to move forward. Today, however, we are happy to see that the needs of farmers and ranchers across the country – and the millions of people who benefit from their work – are being made a priority.” Boatright said.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 251-166, giving reassurance to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow that the legislation could pass her chamber by next week.
The 949-page Farm Bill saves nearly $23 billion over a 10-year period, a third of which comes from the Nutrition Title that funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Other savings are reached through the elimination of the direct payment system. The Grange will be watching this issue closely as the bill works its way through the Senate.
Established in 1867, The National Grange, a nonpartisan, nonprofit fraternal organization, is the oldest agricultural and rural community service organization. With more than 2,100 local chapters, the Grange has evolved into the nation’s leading rural advocacy organization and a major benefactor to local communities. There are more than 160,000 members across the United States.