Farm bill negotiations underway, Brown outlines priorities

With the 2013 Farm Bill negotiations underway, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee, held a news conference call with Executive Vice President of Ohio Farm Bureau Jack Fisher and Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. During the call, Brown highlighted current negotiations and discussed key provisions that overhaul the farm safety net, bolster rural economic development, support bio-based manufacturing, and ensure access to healthy and affordable food.

Here are comments from Brown, Fisher and Hamler-Fugitt:

Passing a farm bill is essential to supporting a key industry in Ohio. The Senate has passed legislation that is fair to farmers and provides reforms taxpayers deserve. I will continue to focus on eliminating direct payments, improving crop insurance, and bolstering rural economic development, local food production, and bio-based manufacturing. We also must ensure that SNAP benefits remain intact for those working class families with children, seniors, and disabled that rely on this program. I am hopeful that we will be able to put aside partisan differences and pass this long overdue bill. ~ Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Ohio Farm Bureau appreciates the senator’s leadership role on the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Senator Brown understands the importance of a farm bill that has market-driven commodity programs, preserves a strong safety net for Ohio farmers, ensures a safe and abundant food supply and continues the very important crop insurance program. ~ Jack Fisher.

Funding federal hunger relief programs is a smart investment. It makes sense fiscally and is a cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars and an investment in our nation’s future. Hunger increases healthcare costs, lowers worker productivity, harms children’s development and diminishes their educational performance – these are costs that we cannot afford. Millions of low income, struggling families in our state need our help, and we need action now. Our foodbanks and 3,300 member charities strongly urge Congress to oppose any farm bill that cuts SNAP in a time when food assistance is needed the most. ~ Lisa Hamler-Fugitt.

Read more about this conference call and a summary of key provisions of the farm bill.