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Senate passes farm bill!
By Communications Director

ST. PAUL (February 4, 2014) – Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) is pleased the farm bill is one step closer to becoming law with passage by the Senate on a vote 68-32. MFU thanks Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill. The House passed the bill on January 29 on a 251-166 vote.

“Family farmers thank the Senate for acting swiftly and getting the farm bill passed. We urge President Obama to waste no time in getting this farm bill signed, so family farmers can have the security they need to plan for the future,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President. “I want to thank Senator Klobuchar for her hard work on the farm bill conference committee, and also to Senator Al Franken for supporting the bill, and helping pass this common sense piece of legislation that protects farmers as they provide food, fuel and fiber for this country.”

The bill includes:

  • approximately $4 billion in livestock disaster funds, retroactively available to those who suffered tremendous losses last October;
  • repeals direct payments;
  • protects current crop insurance program;
  • does not repeal permanent law;
  • provides $900 million of mandatory funding for energy programs;
  • includes $30 million a year in mandatory funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, with $10 million a year in discretionary funding;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative;
  • includes $20 million a year in mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program;
  • addresses fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • reduces SNAP funding by $8 billion over the next 10 years;
  • increases access for livestock producers to Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) benefits, along with many other supportive policies for the livestock industry;
  • does not make any legislative changes to the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law;
  • does not make any major adjustments to protections for producers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA); and
  • the proposed farm bill reduces spending by about $23 billion over the next 10 years.