The inbox is filling with largely positive reaction to the Senate passage of the farm bill. Here are some excerpts from around the industry and the ag community:
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow
“This Farm Bill is the most significant reform to farm programs in decades—it cuts spending, ends subsidies, improves accountability and strengthens healthy food systems. This bill was developed through bipartisan collaboration, passed committee with broad bipartisan support, and we have now passed a bipartisan bill that supports 16 million American jobs. It is heartening to earn support from both sides on a major bill that cuts spending and helps create jobs. Passage of this bill shows that when people come together, Congress can still get big things done.”
“I want to thank my Ranking Member Senator Pat Roberts for his leadership and commitment to working on behalf of American agriculture and to my colleagues in the Senate for voting on behalf of the 16 million American jobs that rely on a robust, innovative and strengthened agriculture sector. I look forward to continuing to work in a collaborative and bipartisan way to see that this reform bill is signed into law.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
"I’m very pleased that the Senate acted in bipartisan spirit today to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. I am grateful for the Senate’s progress toward providing a reformed safety net for producers in times of need, supporting agricultural research and trade promotion, honoring World Trade Organization commitments, furthering the bio-based economy, conserving our natural resources, strengthening local and regional food systems, and promoting job growth in rural America.
United Fresh Produce Association Chairman Tom Stenzel
“We congratulate the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Leadership for prioritizing this legislation which is so important to the nation’s produce providers. The bill supports fruits and vegetables in ways that will boost consumption and help provide healthful options to Americans – through block grants, nutrition programs and pest and disease research. We’re looking forward to working with the House to preserve funding for these critical fruit and vegetable programs.”
Produce Marketing Association President Bryan Silbermann
“PMA commends the Senate for their attention to the needs of specialty crops throughout the 2012 farm bill. This success would not have been a reality without the leadership of Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, who continued the breakthroughs for specialty crops made in the last farm bill, but in a far more difficult budgetary environment. The efforts of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance also deserve recognition, once again successfully advocating for the inclusion of programs targeted to the needs of produce and other specialty crops.
“As the 2012 farm bill discussions move to the U.S. House of Representatives, PMA looks forward to continuing to advocate for the priorities of the fruit and vegetable industry.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman
“There is still a lot of hard work ahead to fully secure the kind of policy we believe our farm and ranch families need, but we applaud the Senate for approving a workable bill and moving this process forward. The Senate has provided us solid footing by approving a bill that stands firm on $23 billion in savings, yet protects and strengthens the federal crop insurance program and provides a commodity title that attempts to encourage producers to follow market signals rather than make planting decisions in anticipation of government payments. And we are convinced that having a new farm bill in place this year is overwhelmingly in the best interest of our members.”
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director Ferd Hoefner
"The bill would benefit greatly from more agriculture reform, a greater local and regional food focus, and a much greater commitment to economic development and jobs.We are also disappointed with the $3.7 billion cut to conservation programs on working farms and ranches.
Senate adoption of amendments by Senator Brown (D-OH) on rural development and beginning farmers, Senator Chambliss (R-GA) on soil and wetland conservation, and Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Coburn (R-OK) on crop insurance subsidy limits brought the bill more in line with the ‘reform’ and ‘jobs’ in its title. These amendments, along with others like Senator Merkley's (D-OR) on crop insurance for organic farmers and Senator Grassley's (R-IA) on commodity payment limit reform, significantly improved the bill. Without passage of these amendments, we could not have supported passage of the final bill.”
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson
“Today is an important step to having a farm bill in place before the current bill expires this fall. I give high marks to Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts who did an excellent job securing bipartisan support and bringing the bill one step closer to completion. I’m not on board with everything they’ve done but think that we’ll be able to work out our differences in conference committee.
“It is crucial that we finish the farm bill before the current bill expires in September. Waiting until the mess that will occur during the lame duck session will not only make it more difficult, but could also result in several unintended consequences. If the House Ag Committee passes a bipartisan bill in early July, House leadership will then have little choice but to bring the farm bill to the floor before the August recess. I’m continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and members of the Committee to make this happen.”
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas
"I commend Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts on passage of S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act. It was a challenge to move this legislation and their efforts have made it possible."
"Although there will be differences between the Senate approach and our own, I hope my colleagues are encouraged by this success when we meet on the 11th to consider our own legislation. The House Agriculture Committee will consider a balanced proposal that saves taxpayers billions of dollars, recognizes the diversity of American agriculture, respects the risks producers face, and preserves the tools necessary for food production."
National Potato Council Executive Officer and Chief Executive Officer John Keeling
“We appreciate the hard work of Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, and Ranking Member Roberts for getting this challenging but vital farm bill over the Senate finish line. The policies of the Farm Bill passed by the Senate will help protect the tens of thousands of jobs associated with the specialty crop industry and will help create more. And it further strengthens the access of all Americans to the specialty crops that enhance their daily lives. We look forward to ensuring that the voices of employers, workers and families dependent on a strong specialty crop industry are heard as the House makes progress on its Farm Bill.”
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association President Mike Stuart
"At a time when it's critically important for Americans to be eating more fruits and vegetables, Senate passage of this bill is great news for consumers. Besides preserving jobs, it helps to ensure access to a plentiful supply of healthful specialty crops. What's more, this bill addresses some of the continual significant challenges specialty crop growers face in the production and marketing of their crops in an increasingly global marketplace. We look forward to working with the House as it takes up its version of the bill."
Western Growers President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nassif
“For specialty crop producers across the country the Farm Bill represents an opportunity to create a healthier life for Americans across the country,. Farm Bill funding helps fuel innovations in farming that will help our producers grow and harvest an abundant supply of specialty crops utilizing fewer natural resources. This is an opportunity to help our industry in the short and long-term as well as help secure the jobs of millions of American workers who support agriculture and reduce the federal deficit. Now that the Senate has completed its work, we look forward to seeing Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson move the farm bill through the House Agriculture Committee.”
U.S. Apple Association President Nancy Foster
“The Senate has made a statement that it continues to recognize the importance of specialty crops and remains committed to an equitable farm policy. The U.S. apple industry is pleased to see a truly comprehensive and competitive Farm Bill pass the Senate. The guidance and commitment shown by Senators Stabenow and Roberts has been invaluable to the Farm Bill’s passage."