After more than four years of work and over 40 hearings, the bipartisan-supported Agricultural Act of 2014 passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 251-166 Wednesday. The act is now in the hands of the Senate, and if approved it will await the President’s signature.
The act, also known as the Farm Bill, replaces the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) voted in support of the Farm Bill. Denham served on the conference committee to negotiate the bipartisan bill with House and Senate counterparts from both sides on the aisle.
“From my experience as an almond farmer in the Central Valley, I know how crucial farm policy on the federal level is to ensuring that our agricultural community can feed the nation,” Denham said. “California is number one in the nation in agricultural revenue, and our farms produce nearly half of U.S. grown fruit, nuts and vegetables – making the farm bill especially crucial to Californians.
“This bipartisan bill saves $23 billion in taxpayer dollars, ends direct payments and provides $800 million for specialty crop and citrus research. It provides full funding for the Market Access Program, which means California’s agricultural commodities can continue to be promoted worldwide. It also includes a crucial victory for states’ rights by eliminating the King amendment, which would have led to a race to the bottom for agriculture production laws nationwide and imperiled the fate of California egg producers."
The bill includes the most significant reduction to farm policy spending in history, repealing or consolidating more than 100 programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including direct payments to farmers.
The bill also makes the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps, since 1996. The SNAP changes protect critical assistance to families in need, establish a work requirement pilot program in 10 states and eliminate fraud in the current SNAP system.
The Congressional Budget Office says the Farm Bill will cut $23 billion in Ag spending over the next 10 years through eliminating subsidy payments to farmers. The act will also cut spending on SNAP by an estimated $8 billion over 10 years, without removing anyone from the SNAP program.