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Farm bill passes Senate
The Senate has passed the 2012 Farm Bill by a vote of 64-35. A minimum of 60 votes were needed for passage.
After voting on more than 70 floor amendments, S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act received bi-partisan support. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown voted in favor of the bill. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman voted against the bill.
This legislation represents true reform in providing more than $23 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years through numerous cost saving measures including the elimination of direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and ACRE. The new program, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), will be a shallow loss program (offering a coverage ban of 79 to 89%) that will be based on crop revenue and planted acreage rather than base acreage.
The bill maintains the critical crop insurance program and streamlines 23 conservation programs down to 12 while saving $6 billion.
A gross margin protection program as well as a market stabilization program have been included for dairy. Ohio Farm Bureau Federation will continue to express its concerns with the dairy stabilization program in the House.
There are a number of programs aimed at supporting the specialty crop industry in the bill including research money, the state block grant program, marketing and promotion measures and new opportunities for crop insurance.
The House Agriculture Committee is expected to begin markup of its version of the farm bill after the Fourth of July recess. Current plans are to pass a House version of the farm bill out of committee and the full House before summer recess and then conference the House and Senate bills in September.
Read Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's official statment on the passage of the farm bill in the Senate.