House Follows Senate Closely with Farm Bill Discussion Draft

House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson have released a discussion draft of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The bipartisan bill cuts spending, reduces the size of government and makes common-sense reforms. According to Lucas - the bill is responsible and balanced. He says it addresses American's concerns about federal spending and reforms farm and nutrition policy to improve efficiency and accountability. The Committee is scheduled to markup the farm bill on Wednesday. Lucas suggests full House consideration will happen this summer. Peterson says the draft closely resembles the bipartisan bill the House Agriculture Committee passed last summer. He says it includes a common-sense commodity title that will work for all producers, much-needed reforms to dairy programs and continued support for the sugar program. Peterson says the bill also builds on the investments the 2008 Farm Bill made to fruits and vegetables, farmers markets and local food systems. As for nutrition program reforms - Peterson says he believes there are more responsible ways of doing it. But he says the bottom line is that this is the first step in the process and it's past time to pass a five-year farm bill.

According to a release from the House Agriculture Committee - highlights of the measure include:

Savings of nearly 40-billion dollars in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of six-billion
Repeal or consolidation of more than 100 programs
Elimination of direct payments, which farmers received regardless of market conditions
Streamlining and reforming commodity policy, saving nearly 14-billion dollars while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk
Inclusion of the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, saving more than 20-billion dollars
Consolidation of 23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than six-billion dollars
Building on previous investments to fruit and vegetable production, farmers markets and local food systems.
Inclusion of several regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers and rural communities face

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