Sen. Carper Celebrates Senate Passage of Landmark Bill to Support American Agriculture and Healthy Communities

Farm bill reduces deficit by $23.6 billion, eliminates wasteful spending, protects and restores Chesapeake Bay, and provides farmers with critical safety net

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) celebrated the passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, commonly referred to as the 2012 Farm bill. Among the provisions included in the final legislation is language championed by Sen. Carper to prioritize research to improve feed choices for the poultry, livestock and food production industries and to help safeguard conservation resources for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. His statement follows:

Given our nation’s massive debt and deficit, one of my top priorities is to see how we in government can get better results for less money in everything we do. This farm bill is no exception, and provides an excellent opportunity to reform a process that has too often been criticized as regressive and wasteful. All told, this legislation would save the federal government $23.6 billion over the next 10 years. It diminishes wasteful spending and provides farmers with the safety net they need to continue to feed us and the rest of the world. I thank Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts for their leadership in moving this bill forward and for their support of measures important to the farmers, citizens, and industries of the First State.

This landmark bill institutes a new crop insurance program, which gives farmers the security they need to keep farming and feeding America and the world but at a much lower cost to the American taxpayer. The legislation also focuses on nutrition, and on how we can encourage farmers to grow – and people to eat – more healthful foods as part of their daily diets. The bill also includes legislation – which Senator Stabenow and I introduced earlier this year – that would support the expansion of products made in this country from bio-based materials. These renewable materials can be used to replace petroleum in our plastics, which not only reduces our reliance on foreign oil but also protects our environment and creates new jobs in local communities throughout our country, including those in Delaware.

The farm bill also includes an important provision that I introduced with Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) to help poultry growers and the poultry industry on Delmarva. Our measure will help provide poultry and food production industries with a greater variety of feed choices to use in their operations. Specifically, our amendment makes a priority at the U.S. Department of Agriculture research to improve efficiency, digestibility, and nutritional value of corn, soybean meal, cereal grains, and grain byproducts as feed for the poultry and animal agriculture industries. By improving the feed used to raise our chickens and providing the poultry industry with a greater variety of feed to use in their operations, we can help reduce costs for the poultry industry and provide consumers with affordable, high-quality food.

Another key aspect of this legislation that several of my colleagues and I fought hard to protect is a continued investment in conservation in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Conservation and preservation of our agricultural lands are essential to the future of agriculture in every state, especially in small states like Delaware. One-third of our state’s land are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and over the past several years, farmers and conservationists in Delaware have taken great strides to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The changes that my colleagues and I were successful in incorporating into this bill will ensure that resources will continue to be made available to critical conservation areas like the Chesapeake Bay so that we can continue our important work to conserve our precious environment for future generations.

This common-sense legislation saves precious taxpayer dollars, encourages healthier lifestyles, and helps our farmers, the lifeblood, literally, of this country. I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and quickly pass this bill.