2014 may be a new year, but the priorities haven’t changed!
We need a new, comprehensive five-year farm bill. We don’t need another extension — we need the certainty of a five-year bill. The farm bill is a vital piece of legislation for family farmers, ranchers and growers across the country. It is a fiscally responsible bill that saves taxpayer dollars while protecting our nation’s food security and environmental health. The following priorities must be included:
- Do not rescind existing permanent farm bill law. Reinstate the permanent farm bill provisions from 1938 and 1949 as the underlying legislation. Permanent law provides an incentive for Congress to periodically review farm programs and ensure they are still relevant and working properly;
- Include fixed reference prices, such as those proposed by the House bill’s commodity title, to provide protection against price collapse rather than basing price protection on a rolling Olympic average, as in the Senate bill;
- Include a dairy program that provides protection against rising production costs and market collapse and establishes an inventory management program that is geared toward family farmers, as in the Senate bill;
- Provide $900 million of mandatory funding for energy title programs, as in the Senate bill, including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Biorefinery Assistance Program and Biobased Markets Program;
- Oppose the House version’s additional, unnecessary studies on the implementation of Country- of-Origin Labeling (COOL), which is already the law of the land, and resist any efforts to under- mine COOL law; and
- Reauthorize and fund the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program at the House bill’s level, which provides funding for programs that expand important food systems in one of the fastest-growing areas in agriculture.