WASHINGTON -- (May 14, 2013) -- The Senate Agriculture Committee today passed an amended version of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) proposed farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. The amended version of the committee-passed farm bill includes provisions for both revenue policy, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and price policy, Adverse Market Program (AMP) for growers of all crops, except cotton, which is provided with a STAX crop insurance policy. The target price level for rice is set at $13.30/cwt and includes an option to update rice yields. The ARC policy would apply on planted acres and the AMP policy would apply on base acres. Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) voted for committee passage. Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mike Johanns (R-NE), John Thune (R-SD), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) voted no.
With the 15-5 Senate Agriculture Committee passage of its five-year 2013 farm bill, USA Rice is prepared for tomorrow’s 2013 farm-policy debate by the House Agriculture Committee when it considers a separate five-year measure.
“We are grateful to Sens. Stabenow, Cochran, Boozman and Chambliss for their tireless efforts and support on our issues,” USA Rice Producers’ Group Chairman and Texas rice producer Linda Raun said. “We look forward to debate tomorrow in the House committee and, we hope, the committee’s passage of a five-year farm bill.”
USA Rice Federation will continue its efforts to have a workable and equitable safety net approved for rice producers as part of a 2013 farm bill.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow said she drafted a "strong farm bill again this year." With farming being "the riskiest business in the country," the committee's job is "to make sure farmers have a policy that works for them," Stabenow said.
Farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a five-year farm bill and “we have tried to be fair to those affected by this bill, as well as to those who pay the bill,” Ranking Member Cochran said.
Sen. Boozman highlighted the need for a five-year farm bill, but said an amendment accepted that sets reference prices for all crops, except rice and peanuts at 55 percent of moving price average "is discouraging" because it "sets them apart from other commodities." He said that "finding common ground and achieving greater equity for crops in all regions of the country" is needed.
The Senate Agriculture Committee five-year package would authorize commodity, risk management, conservation, nutrition, energy, rural development and research programs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had scored the Senate version as saving over $24 billion over a decade. The House Agriculture Committee will debate a CBO-projected $40 billion savings proposal tomorrow to authorize its version of the farm bill.
The full Senate is expected to consider the farm bill next week.