U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) called for fiscal responsibility and risk management tools today during a hearing of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. The hearing, part of a series on the 2012 Farm Bill, focused on the producer support programs, which include commodity programs and crop insurance.
At the hearing, Lugar highlighted the Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act, which he introduced with Congressman Marlin Stutzman on October 5, 2011. "The REFRESH Act creates real reforms to U.S. farm and food support programs," Lugar said. "These reforms create a true producer safety net that will serve more farmers more fairly, while being responsive to regional and national crises that endanger the continuing success of America's farmers. The reforms also improve accuracy and efficiency in federal nutrition programs, while protecting America's hungry."
The bill, which would save taxpayers $40 billion over the next ten years, was shared with members of the House and Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committees and Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JCDR). Lugar and Stutzman, both Hoosier farmers, are pushing for passage of the bill again this year. The current five-year farm bill, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, expires September 30, 2012.
Lugar also joined all members of the Senate Agriculture committee in signing a letter that urges the bankruptcy trustee for the financial firm MF Global Holdings, Inc. to block bonuses from being disbursed to the company's executives. The letter says that in the context of nearly $1.6 billion in missing customer money, "It is absolutely outrageous to propose paying bonuses to the very people who were responsible for the firm's operational, legal, and financial management at the time customer money disappeared."