Klobuchar is a member of the Farm Bill conference committee, which was responsible for crafting the final Farm Bill
The final legislation will reduce the deficit, strengthen the crop insurance program, eliminate direct payments, boost conservation, maintain the sugar program, and keep nutrition programs strong for Minnesota families
Klobuchar successfully fought to provide additional support to rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program and pushed for a strong energy title in the final bill
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that the Farm Bill has passed the Senate and will now head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. Klobuchar is a member of the Farm Bill conference committee, which crafted the final Farm Bill. The final legislation will reduce the deficit, strengthen the crop insurance program, eliminate direct payments, maintain the sugar program, and keep nutrition programs strong for Minnesota families. Klobuchar also successfully fought to provide additional support to rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program and pushed for a strong energy title in the final bill.
“They say good things come to those who wait, and today’s strong, bipartisan vote is a long-awaited victory for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in Minnesota and all across the country,” Klobuchar said. “As a member of the Farm Bill conference committee, I worked with Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate to shape a final bill that will give our farmers the certainty they need to grow and thrive. This bipartisan legislation will reduce the deficit, strengthen the crop insurance program, eliminate direct payments, boost conservation, and keep nutrition programs strong for Minnesota families.”
Klobuchar successfully included a number of provisions in the final bill to support Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers:
Supporting Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
The Farm Bill includes Klobuchar’s provisions that would help beginning farmers and ranchers access crop insurance by reducing the cost of insurance by 10 percent 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. Crop insurance premiums are based on a farmer or rancher’s previous production history, putting beginning producers at a disadvantage and discouraging them from participating in the program altogether, leaving them more vulnerable to disasters.
Klobuchar’s second provision would allow beginning producers to graze cattle on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres without a reduction in payments for the CRP landowner. Managed grazing can be beneficial for wildlife, encourage biodiversity, and help control invasive nonnative species and quality of vegetative cover. Waiving the penalty for allowing beginning farmers and ranchers to graze on CRP acres will help beginning producers get a start while providing valuable ecological benefits on CRP land.
Giving Farmers a Voice in EPA Decisions
The Farm Bill includes a provision Klobuchar pushed for that will give farmers a greater say over regulations affecting agriculture. The provision is similar to legislation Klobuchar introduced to increase agriculture’s presence on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board and creates a new Agriculture standing committee on the Science Advisory Board whose members would be appointed by the EPA administrator in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture. The new standing committee will provide scientific advice on decisions that have a major impact on agriculture, as well as provide testimony to congressional committees when needed.
Helping Pork and Poultry Producers Reduce Catastrophic Losses
Pork and poultry producers are exposed to trade and food safety disruptions to their export markets, which contributes to the importance of addressing the issue of catastrophic losses. Klobuchar included a provision in the Farm Bill 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.
Boosting Conservation, Research, Rural Development and Homegrown Energy
The Farm Bill includes an amendment led by Klobuchar and Senator John Hoeven to provide an additional $300 million for three critical areas including: increasing agricultural research, addressing the backlog of Rural Development waste water loans, and supporting the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. Senator Klobuchar fought to secure the full $880 million dollars for the energy title of the Farm Bill.
Improving Rural Transportation and Addressing Captive Shipping Issues
Captive shipping has been a concern in rural communities in Minnesota, where agricultural producers only have access to one rail company to ship their goods to market. Klobuchar’s provision 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 directs the Secretary of Agriculture to report his recommendations for improvements in rural transportation policy to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.
Conservation Compliance and Sodsaver Provsion
Klobuchar supported efforts to create a compromise on conservation compliance that would extend conservation protections to the crop insurance program. The compromise agreement includes a number of provisions to ensure that farmers will be held harmless if they come out of compliance because of a flood or other disaster. In addition, Klobuchar worked with Senator John Thune (R-SD) to include the sodsaver provision, which would work to protect native prairie by making small changes to the crop insurance program to reduce the incentive to grow crops for the first time on native prairie.
Maintains the Strong Sugar Program
In the Senate Farm Bill debate, Klobuchar fought to defeat amendments that would have eliminated or dismantled the sugar program, which supports sugar beet growers across the Red River Valley. The Farm Bill includes a strong sugar program.
Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program
The Farm Bill extends the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for one year. The PILT program provides Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. PILT payments help local governments carry out services such as firefighting and police protection and construction of public schools and roads.