U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today voted to proceed to debate on reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Before the vote, Sen. Landrieu spoke with Louisiana rice growers about concerns that the bill does not include adequate federal support programs and disproportionately reduces federal support for rice, compared to other commodities. Sen. Landrieu has been pushing to improve these provisions -- including by organizing a call between Louisiana rice growers and the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. -- and will continue to do so as the bill moves forward. Sen. Landrieu is advocating for a strong farm bill for all Louisiana producers.
"In Louisiana, we are blessed with abundant water and fertile soil that support a diverse and thriving agricultural industry. Louisiana's farmers and ranchers make significant contributions to our state, generating $10.7 billion in economic activity last year alone. I strongly support the goal of reauthorizing the Farm Bill to support the continued success of agriculture in Louisiana and across the country. However, I share the concerns of Louisiana's rice growers that the legislation in its current form does not provide the necessary safety net for rice, particularly compared to other commodities. As the Senate moves forward on this legislation, I will continue pushing to improve provisions that affect our rice growers, so that we pass a bill that is as strong as possible for all Louisiana farmers," Sen. Landrieu said.
"I support and thank Sen. Landrieu in her efforts to proceed with hearing the Farm Bill and working towards adequate support levels for our farmers and ranchers. Although, the bill is not perfect, I do look forward to continuing to work with her, our Louisiana congressional delegation and our commodity organizations to craft legislation that will be in the best interest of Louisiana," said Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry Mike Strain.
"We appreciate the work that you have done to advocate for all of Louisiana's agricultural producers, and we support your efforts in working with other Senators to obtain provisions more favorable to our growers. We support your efforts to proceed with consideration of the Farm Bill, and hopefully your efforts will provide enough leverage to gain some of the most needed concessions Again, we appreciate all of your efforts to improve the Senate's version of the Farm Bill so that it adequately addresses the needs of all producers," the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation President Ronnie Anderson wrote in a letter to Sen. Landrieu.
The current version of the Farm Bill reforms, eliminates and streamlines numerous programs, and will reduce the federal deficit by over $23 billion. It creates a risk-based coverage program for farmers that complements crop insurance to protect against both price and yield losses. It also includes an extension of the US Sugar Program, which is vital to our sugarcane growers, and it also creates a new risk management program called the Stacked Income Protection Plan or STAX, just for cotton producers.