The Senate has just voted in favor of passing a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill in a bipartisan 64-35 vote. SSAWG thanks all of you who contacted the Senate on this important effort. Your calls and emails to your senators helped pass key amendments that will protect sustainable agriculture.
The GOOD News:
The Brown Amendment passed! This amendment provides Farm Bill funding for beginning farmer and rancher training, small business loans and training, grants and loans for small town water and sewer systems and value-added grants to family farmers and ranchers. These programs truly help rural America.
Other important wins in the Farm Bill include:
- Closing loopholes in the limits to farm payments,
- Conservation requirements for recipients of crop insurance premium subsidies, and
- Denies premium subsidies on native grasslands broken out for crops.
The Bad News:
Unfortunately, funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program had some cuts - not unexpected, but further cuts could really hurt the program.
The GREAT News:
Overall this is a good Farm Bill and it will help us continue to move forward to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, socially just and humane.
Next step - the House of Representatives will begin their Farm Bill debate in July. We will push the House to keep the gains from the Senate and impose a much needed cap on crop insurance premium subsidies to large farms. More than ten thousand large farms received over $100,000 in premium subsidies last year. Stay tuned -- we'll have more information to help you with your advocacy efforts. We have a lot of work to do in the House of Representatives to ensure a good Farm Bill is passed!