WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 - known as the farm bill. The bill reduces government spending by approximately $23 billion, while providing risk management tools to agricultural producers, and significantly reforms agriculture policy by taking a more market-oriented approach.
“This is a reform-minded, market-oriented farm bill that represents a positive step in our nation’s ag policy,” Johanns said. “Given our daunting budget situation, it is appropriate this bill saves more than $23 billion - a step in the right direction in dealing with our debt – while helping to mitigate the risks producers face.”
“I will continue to be involved as the farm bill advances through Congress and hopefully to the President’s desk for his signature very soon.”
The farm bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 64-35.
This bipartisan bill will reduce the deficit by more than $23 billion because of changes to every title and the elimination of nearly 100 federal programs overall. It shifts farm policy further away from dependence on income support and instead focuses on risk management.
The bill saves $15 billion from commodity crop support by eliminating four programs, including direct payments; countercyclical payments; the Average Crop Revenue Election Program, called ACRE; and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, called SURE.
The bill tightens payment limits and ensures those who receive government assistance are actively engaged in farming.
Johanns also championed – both as Secretary of Agriculture and during the committee process – streamlining and simplifying conservation programs, which the bill does by consolidating 23 conservation programs into 13. The improvements reduce costs while making the programs more farmer friendly.