Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), a move applauded by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The legislation sets farm policy, including important research and conservation programs, for the next five years. The bill cuts over $23 billion from farm programs by streamlining and consolidating programs and eliminates direct payments to farmers by shifting to an insurance-based safety net..
Conservation programs were cut by $6.5 billion and consolidated from a total of 23 programs to 13, while still maintaining key conservation functions. The Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap was reduced from 32 million acres to 25 million acres.
Over seventy amendments were considered during three days of debate. An amendment that would have prohibited aerial inspections of CAFOs by the Environmental Protection Agency failed. In a surprise move, the Senate narrowly approved an amendment linking conservation compliance measures to crop insurance.
The House Agriculture Committee is expected to consider it’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill on July 11th after the House returns from the Fourth of July recess. However, with so little time left, it is uncertain if Congress can complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires on September 30th.
We’ll keep you posted as this is an ever evolving process.
How does the US Farm Bill impact you as a CCA or CPAg? What do you think the ICCA Program should focus on as it relates to the Farm Bill?