U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today released the following statement after the House approved the Farm Bill conference report,the Agricultural Act of 2014, on a bipartisan vote of 251-166.
"Today the House took the opportunity to pass a bipartisan farm bill that provides 5 years of certainty to rural America, strengthens crop insurance as the key risk management tool for our farmers, and cuts $23 billion in spending," said Davis, the only Member of Congress from Illinois to serve on the Farm Bill Conference Committee. "This bill also gives us an opportunity to push stronger regulatory reforms with the EPA and contains the first reforms to the SNAP program since 1996. I was proud to support this bill because it gives us one of the single largest cuts in mandatory spending that we've seen in this Congress and because it is essential that we pass a new, responsible farm bill that cuts spending, protects the agriculture community, and reforms federal government."
Included in the approved bill were two amendments introduced by Rep. Davis. The first was a bipartisan amendment to help prevent seed shortages by eliminating a duplicative reporting requirement for seed importers. The second creates an agriculture subcommittee within EPA's Science Advisory Board to give farmers a stronger voice by reviewing EPA actions that could negatively impact agriculture.
Additional changes and reforms includes:
Reforms to farm policy
- Repeals Direct Payments and limits producers to risk management tools that offer protection when they suffer significant losses.
- Limits on payments are reduced, eligibility rules are tightened, and means tests are streamlined to make farm programs more accountable.
- Strengthens crop insurance, a successful public/private partnership that ensures farmers invest in their own risk management.
- Provides historic reforms to dairy policy by repealing outdated and ineffective dairy programs. Offers producers a new, voluntary, margin protection program without imposing government-mandated supply controls.
- Reauthorizes and strengthens livestock disaster assistance.
- Supports small businesses and beginning farmers and ranchers with training and access to capital.
Reforms to SNAP
- Closes the “heat-and-eat” loophole that artificially increases benefit levels when states provide nominal LIHEAP assistance.
- Establishes a 10-state pilot to empower states to engage able-bodied adults in mandatory work programs.
- Prohibits USDA from engaging in SNAP recruitment activities, and advertising SNAP on TV, radio, billboards & through foreign governments.
- Ensures undocumented immigrants, lottery winners, traditional college students, and the deceased do not receive benefits.
- Ensures SNAP recipients are not receiving benefits in multiple states.
- Allows states to pursue retailer fraud through a pilot investigation program and crack down on trafficking through data mining, terminal ID, and other measures.
- Increases assistance for food banks.
Additional reforms and relief
- Consolidates 23 duplicative and overlapping conservation programs into 13.
- Provides one year of full funding for the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides funding for vital services in communities containing federal lands.
- Provides certainty to forest products industry by clarifying that forest roads should not be treated as a point source under the Clean Water Act.
- Creates a permanent subcommittee within the EPA Science Advisory Board to conduct peer review of EPA actions that would negatively impact agriculture.
- Eliminates duplicative reporting requirements for seed importers; requires improved economic analysis of FDA regulations.
- Fully funds specialty crop industry priorities such as Specialty Crop Block Grants.