The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the farm-only section of the Farm Bill by a vote of 216 to 208 along party lines. The debate was very heated at times. Democrats criticized the Republicans for separating the nutrition program from the Farm Bill.
Republicans argued that splitting the bill was necessary and pointed to the positive farm program reforms that it contained.
In his closing comments before the final vote, House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (Okla.) assured his colleagues that his committee would bring a separate nutrition bill, including reauthorization of the food stamp program, to the House floor.
The bill keeps the same commodity, conservation, crop insurance and other provisions that were developed by the House Agriculture Committee and amended on the floor before the full Farm Bill failed to pass June 20. One key difference, however, is that the legislation would end permanent farm programs from 1938 and 1949 making the 2013 Title I permanent law going forward--something Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.) said would likely mean that the House would never again write a new Farm Bill.
More than 500 of America's agriculture, conservation, rural development, finance, forestry, energy and crop insurance companies and organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, last week wrote to Speaker of the House, John Boehner (Ohio), to strongly urge that the Farm Bill be brought back to the House floor as soon as possible. This important legislation supports our nation's farmers, ranchers, forest owners, food security, natural resources and wildlife habitats, rural communities and the 16 million Americans whose jobs directly depend on the agriculture industry, the letter stated.
Reprinted in part from Brownfield Ag News