House Passes Farm Bill - Moves to Senate
January 31, 2014

With a vote of 251 to 166, the U.S. House on Wednesday approved the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642). House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas was pleased with the bill's passage, calling it legislation that all involved can be proud of because it fulfills the expectations of the American people for Congress to work together to find ways to reduce the cost of the federal government. Lucas says the Agricultural Act contributes major savings to deficit reduction, significant reforms to policy and still provides a safety net for the production of American food and fiber and to ensure Americans have enough food to eat. 
Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.) filed cloture on the House-passed Farm Bill, setting up a key vote the evening of Feb. 3. However, lawmakers already said they expect the Senate will pass the conference agreement on the bill mid-day Feb. 4. 
Senate Agriculture Chairman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) said the intervening time will give senators time to discuss the measure but not amend it. 
"People can talk, but all they can do is vote up or down," Stabenow said. 
American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) President Clint Krebs (Ore.) sent a letter to Farm Bill Conference Committee leaders congratulating them on the completion of the conference report and thanking them for the inclusion of key provisions of importance to America's sheep producing farm and ranch families. 
"The farm bill process has been delayed far too long and we commend you for your perseverance," the letter stated. "ASI supports the conference report to accompany H.R. 2642 and strongly urges all Members of Congress to vote in support of the Agricultural Act of 2014." 
Sheep specific provisions in the Farm Bill consist of:
A new Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States;
Authorizes the Livestock Indemnity Program to assist with disasters that kill sheep and lambs and, per the request of ASI, provision for cost-share of sheep killed by federally re-introduced or regulated predators including Avian predators;
Extended the Wool Fabric Provision for five years to correct a trade issue under the 20 year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The provisions are crucial to American suit manufacturers, domestic wool mills and wool suppliers to remain in the United States rather than be lost to a trade loophole favoring Canadian textile; and
The ASI-supported country-of-origin-labeling is maintained in the language.
"ASI sponsored provisions address wool and lamb business from farmgate to processors. The new provisions, such as partial reimbursement for excessive loss of lambs to federally protected birds like eagles, ravens and vultures, will be helpful to farms of all sizes both east and west," said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "Essentially, federal regulations disallow all tools that producers could use to protect their sheep."