"This legislation is a balanced, bipartisan bill that continues critical work for food, agriculture, energy and rural programs while reducing federal spending. I am very pleased that this bill extends essential programs and includes substantial reforms, such as eliminating direct payments and replacing them with a new revenue-based program a measure that evolved from the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program that I worked to include in the 2008 farm bill. The legislation also builds upon reforms in recent farm bills to strengthen and tighten payment limitations, while strengthening the crop insurance program and making it more beneficial to farmers.
"I am also encouraged that the bill provides funding to improve and strengthen critical conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program and other initiatives that I have strongly supported. While funding for conservation was reduced from previous farm bill levels, we were able to limit the extent of the budget reductions with the help of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran. In addition, I expect significant gains in conservation after the momentous agreement between the farming and conservation communities that requires farmers to meet minimum conservation requirements in order to receive federal crop insurance premium subsidies.
"I am pleased that this bill continues funding for initiatives from past farm bills that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to schools across the country. I regret, however, that this legislation reduces funding for nutrition assistance to low-income Americans and am eager to work with the chair of the committee to mitigate cuts to nutrition assistance programs as the legislative process moves forward.
"All in all, this is a strong bipartisan bill. Congress should pass this farm bill quickly to continue to assist farmers and consumers."