Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), former chairman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committee, today made the following statement regarding the 64-35 passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012.
"I am pleased that the Senate was able to reform outdated programs and am proud of the advancements made with the passage of the 2012 farm bill today. In three farm bill debates in the last decade, I have proposed legislation that would both save taxpayers billions of dollars while providing all of America's farmers and ranchers market-oriented income insurance in times of need.
"I applaud the reform efforts included in the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act. There are a number of provisions of this bill that I advocated as part of my own Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act. These included a strengthening of the federal crop insurance program; the elimination of direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and average crop revenue election (ACRE) program; a reduction in the size of land idling Conservation Reserve Program; the consolidation and streamlining of numerous conservation programs; and the improvement and funding of vital rural energy programs.
"While I am encouraged by the advancements made in the 2012 farm bill, I regret sugar reform is not included in this legislation. Sugar reform is an essential step toward farmers, businesses and markets working without government involvement. The beneficiaries of the sugar program have only been a small handful of producers, and the cost to consumers and businesses has been up to $3.5 billion a year."
For more information on Lugar's agriculture reform efforts, please visit: http://lugar.senate.gov/issues/ag/.