The U.S. House version of the 2012 Farm Bill has been released and will be debated next week. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), a farmer and member of the House Agriculture Committee, is working hard to produce a common sense bill that provides a safety net for our producers while cutting wasteful spending and ending excess subsidies.
"As this legislation is being put together and the amendments are being drafted it is important to carefully consider the value of each and every program in the Farm Bill," said Hartzler. "In addition to ending direct subsidies that cost taxpayers $5 billion a year I am working to end wasteful and duplicative programs like the catfish inspection regime that was added to the 2008 Farm Bill. This program transfers inspection jurisdiction for catfish from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This would create dual inspection efforts in seafood processing facilities by requiring the hiring of 90 full-time USDA inspectors to duplicate efforts fully covered by the FDA inspection program. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) puts the cost of this transfer at $30 million in start-up costs and at least $14 million every year thereafter."
"In addition to the need to eliminate waste, the 2012 Farm Bill must provide a strong safety net to protect farmers from disasters beyond their control," added Hartzler. "Currently, Missouri's Fourth District is experiencing a devastating drought that will impact farmers' ability to produce a successful crop to feed our nation. It is important that U.S. farm policy helps farmers survive for the food security of our nation. I am hopeful that a Farm Bill will be completed before the current program expires on September 30th."
Vicky Hartzler, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, represents Missouri's Fourth District, one of the most rural districts in the country. She and her family live on a working farm in Cass County.