Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that the Farm Bill has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with strong bipartisan support. The bill reduces the deficit by $24 billion and includes Klobuchar’s provisions to make it easier for beginning farmers and ranchers to access crop insurance and land for cattle grazing, address captive shipping issues, and help pork and poultry producers reduce catastrophic losses. The bill also includes an amendment led by Klobuchar to support conservation efforts, agricultural research, rural development, and energy programs. Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which is responsible for crafting the Farm Bill.
“Today’s vote is a positive step forward for a strong, long-term Farm Bill that is critical to moving our economy forward,” Klobuchar said.“I worked hard to ensure that this legislation supported our beginning farmers and ranchers and our pork, poultry, and biofuel producers, and will continue to push this legislation forward to ensure this bill gets done so our rural communities have the certainty they need to grow and thrive.”
The legislation includes two of Klobuchar’s provisions to help beginning farmers and ranchers. The first would help them access crop insurance by reducing the cost of insurance by 10 percent and eliminating administrative fees for these producers in their first five years. The provision also helps beginning farmers get more coverage from the crop insurance program by changing the formula used to determine a producer’s expected production yield when they don’t have a complete established production history for a crop. The second provision would allow beginning producers to graze cattle on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres without a reduction in payments for the CRP landowner.
Klobuchar also included a provision that would require a feasibility study for insuring swine producers against catastrophic losses, and she also cosponsored a provision that would require a feasibility study for insuring turkey and chicken producers against catastrophic losses.
Another provision Klobuchar authored would authorize a joint study by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Transportation to examine rural transportation issues, including captive shipping issues, to help farmers and ranchers move their products more quickly and efficiently. The provision requires the study to be updated every three years and directs the Secretary of Agriculture to report his recommendations for improvements in rural transportation policy to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.
The bill also includes an amendment led by Klobuchar to fund regional conservation efforts, provide support to agricultural research, to address the backlog of Rural Development waste water loans, and support the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. Klobuchar’s amendment accomplishes this while still ensuring the Farm Bill saves $24 billion, exceeding the target of $23 billion.