After three years of waiting, today is a day of celebration for soy farmers, as Congress finally makes strides to provide us with the Farm Bill we so desperately need. In a vote of 251 to 166 the House passed the Farm Bill this morning.
Following the passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014 by the House of Representatives, the American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a news release applauding the vote. ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser reiterated just how close the vote brings soybean farmers to a bill that is long overdue.
“We are very, very close,” said Gaesser. “The House has done its part and come together across party lines to pass a good bill—a compromise bill—that represents the needs of soybean farmers and so many other aspects of agriculture. The House is to be commended for its work, but there’s no time to waste. We’ve been operating without a farm bill since the end of September; that means no certainty when it comes to risk management, export market promotion, programs that assist our industry’s growing biodiesel and biobased products sectors, and countless others. Moreover, USDA needs time to put these programs in place for 2014 crops, which begin to be harvested in May. The Senate needs to take up the bill and pass it immediately so we can put this process behind us and keep producing and planning for the tough challenges ahead.”
ASA has been active in support of the bill, which provides for multiple soybean farmer priorities, most notably a flexible farm safety net that includes a choice between price-based and revenue-based risk management tools and maintains the decoupling of payments from current planted acreage under both programs.
ASA supports the bill’s risk management framework; its strengthening of crop insurance; streamlining and optimization of conservation programs; investment in critical trade development and renewables like biodiesel and biobased products; support for beginning farmers and ranchers and acknowledgment of the role of agricultural research.
“We have maintained throughout this process that we are willing to work together with all of agriculture to move this process forward,” Gaesser said. “The bill is a reflection of that willingness to cooperate and compromise and Chairwoman Stabenow, Chairman Lucas, and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson deserve great credit for producing a bill that captures that cooperation and compromise so well.
“We can see the finish line,” he added. “It’s been a long, long road to this point, but we’re almost there. It’s up to the Senate now to bring this process to fruition by passing the farm bill.”
ASA thanks the more than 400 farmers that emailed and contacted their members of Congress on the bill. Now we turn our attention to the upper chamber, encouraging the Senate to take up and pass the farm bill as quickly as possible. ASA will keep you updated as the process moves forward.