After three years of struggle, this week Congress finally passed the Farm Bill and today President Obama signed it into law. While it took us far too long to provide some certainty for our nation’s farmers and those who rely on critical safety net programs, like our food assistance program the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), I believe this agreement is another positive sign that compromise is not dead in Washington. Though it’s not perfect, the bill we passed this week will save the federal government $23 billion over the next decade while providing an important safety net for more than 16 million Americans and 30,000 Delawareans working in agriculture.
In the First State, where the chickens outnumber the people by 300 to 1, a farm bill that supports agricultural research will be critical for sustaining and growing our economy. That’s why I joined with Senator John Boozman from Arkansas to push for provisions in the bill that will prioritize research at the Department of Agriculture to improve the efficiency, digestibility, and nutritional value of a number of feeds for the poultry and animal agriculture industries. At the same time, I welcome the fact that this legislation will help curb our deficit by reforming agriculture assistance programs to reduce wasteful spending.
Finally, I was thrilled to work with Senator Ben Cardin from Maryland, our own Senator Chris Coons, and other Mid-Atlantic senators to ensure resources will continue to be made available to protect the Chesapeake Bay. With one-third of our state connected to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, it’s critical that we keep supporting efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay so our children and grandchildren can enjoy this important resource.
Whether you’re a local farmer, a conservationist, or a Delawarean who enjoys fresh, local produce and poultry, I am curious to hear how you feel on this important issue. Please send me your thoughts by emailing me, contacting me on Twitter @SenatorCarper, or messaging me on Facebook at facebook.com/tomcarper.