WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) celebrated the passage of H.R.2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. The final vote was 68 to 32. The most significant agricultural policy reform in decades, the bill reduces the federal budget deficit by streamlining agricultural programs to make them more efficient while cracking down on fraud and abuse. Additionally, it strengthens crop insurance, promotes conservation compliance, eliminates direct payments to farmers, boosts agricultural job initiatives, and supports critical food and nutrition programs for low-income Americans.
“I support the 2014 Farm Bill because it gives long-term certainty to the 16 million Americans and nearly 30,000 Delawareans working in agriculture; reduces our deficit; and supports access to healthy foods and conservation across the country,” Sen. Carper said. “Given our nation's significant 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, and this Farm Bill is no exception. Through much needed modernization and reform, this legislation will save taxpayers $23 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. At the same time, this bill improves conservation and supports research that will be critical for sustaining and growing our agriculture economy. Delaware has a world-class agricultural community that produces goods sold across the country and around the world. This bill includes specific provisions that I was proud to sponsor to help a wide variety of folks in Delaware, from poultry growers on Delmarva to conservationists who work to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.”
Among the provisions included in the final legislation are several important to Delaware:
- Language authored by Sens. Carper and John Boozman (R-Ark.), is included to prioritize research at the Department of Agriculture to improve the efficiency, digestibility, and nutritional value of corn, soybean meal, cereal grains, and grain byproducts as feed for the poultry and animal agriculture industries. Improving and increasing the variety of feed used to raise our chickens can help reduce costs for the poultry industry and provide consumers with affordable, high-quality food.
- Language championed by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Carper and other Mid-Atlantic senators ensures resources will continue to be made available to protect the Chesapeake Bay. One-third of Delaware’s land is 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 – this funding will continue to support these efforts.
- Language championed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Carper and other colleagues supports the expansion of products manufactured 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.
- Language supported by Sen. Carper provides additional assistance to producers of healthy foods and specialty crops, enables row crop farmers and orchards to participate in crop insurance, and bolsters expansion of programs like farmers markets and farm-to-school initiatives.
For more information on the rest of the Farm Bill visit: http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill.