Senate Farm Bill Passes Key Procedural Vote

US - The Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill passed a crucial test yesterday (7 June) when 90 Senators voted in favour of bringing the bill to the floor for further consideration.
calendar icon 8 June 2012
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The 2012 Farm Bill, formally designated S. 3240, passed the cloture vote Thursday by an overwhelming margin of 90-8. The measure now proceeds to the full Senate floor for debate and amendments, a process that could take several weeks before a final vote is taken.

“This bill represents commonsense and responsible reforms that will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars while strengthening key initiatives that will allow our economy to continue growing and creating jobs,” Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry said.

“This bill has garnered widespread praise from hundreds of farm, food and conservation organizations for its common sense reforms, deficit reduction, and investments in our economic future. The 2008 Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of September – we must pass this commonsense bill immediately to give farmers the certainty they need to continue growing the economy. Sixteen million American jobs rely on agriculture. The time for reform is now.”

Dairy reform act

This leaves those in support of the dairy reform proposal one step closer to seeing it go through the Senate, as well as the House, and passed into law this year.

The Senate legislation includes a new, voluntary margin protection programme, endorsed by National Milk Producers Federation, to better safeguard farmers against disastrously low margins, such as those generated by the low milk prices and high feed costs that cost dairy farmers $20 billion in net worth between 2007 and 2009.

Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF said the dairy title contains a better safety net for farmers in the form of the Dairy Production Margin Protection Program, which offers them a basic level of coverage against low margins, as well as a supplemental insurance plan offering higher levels of protection jointly funded by government and farmers. Those who opt to enroll in the margin programme will also be subject to the Market Stabilization programme that asks them to reduce milk output when margins are poor.

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