After years of stalled negotiations, the nearly $1 trillion overhauled federal Farm Bill passes its final hurdle, with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is happy with its passage. The group’s director of governmental relations Karen Gefvert admits no legislation is perfect, but says the bureau is pretty happy with the results of this five-year farm bill.
“Yes, this is a compromise piece of legislation. It’s been a long time in the making. This is what could be compromised on in order to get the deal done, so we are happy enough with the way that it has worked out.”
The compromise bill ends the controversial direct cash payments to farmers, which have cost approximately $5 billion a year. However, the bill adds a crop insurance program.
“The new farm bill also streamlines several of the conservation programs. This does provide the largest reform in dairy legislation in a generation. We’re looking at a savings of over $23 billion over ten years for the bill. It also provides specialty crop block grants for some of Wisconsin’s specialty crops.”
The bill also cuts $8 billion from the food stamp program over the next ten years. Gefvert says there are some really great things in this legislation for Wisconsin agriculture.
The vote among Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senators was split — Democrat Tammy Baldwin voted for the bill while Republican Ron Johnson voted against it. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.