Congressman Rick Berg released the following statement regarding the official introduction of a Farm Bill in the House, known as the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM).
"It is encouraging to see that Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson have gotten the ball rolling by introducing a Farm Bill in the House," stated Berg. "This is great news for the many farmers and ranchers who are looking for the stability and certainty that a long-term Farm Bill reauthorization would bring. I will continue working with the North Dakota farmers and ranchers, along with Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson, to do everything we can to pass a strong Farm Bill for North Dakota."
Earlier today, House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R -- Oklahoma) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D -- Minnesota) issued a joint press release with their respective statements announcing the release of the FARRM Act.
"I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson," stated Chairman Lucas. "Our efforts over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery. This bill is an investment in production agriculture and rural America. Those of us in the agriculture community are quick to point out that our producers provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. We say it because it's true. This legislation is a commitment to maintaining that tradition."
"Congress needs to complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires, otherwise we jeopardize one of the economic bright spots of our nation's fragile economy," stated Ranking Member Peterson. "The legislation released today brings us yet another step closer to achieving this goal and I am pleased to have worked with the Chairman in this effort. We have a commodity title in place that will work for all parts of the country as well as continued support for the sugar program and my Dairy Security Act. I have long believed every government program must contribute toward deficit reduction and while I would have found other ways to accomplish the bill's nutrition savings, the bottom line is that, working together, we need to keep this farm bill moving forward. There will be challenges ahead, but we will pass the bill out of Committee next week and, if the House leadership gets this right and brings the bill to the floor, we will ultimately finish the bill in September."
Earlier this year, Berg brought Chairman Lucas to North Dakota to discuss firsthand the importance of developing a new Farm Bill that recognizes the unique challenges facing North Dakota farmers and ranchers. Specifically, Berg has stressed the importance of a strong crop insurance program.
The House Committee on Agriculture will consider the legislation during a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 11.
Below are the highlights of the discussion draft of the FARRM Act.
FARRM saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
FARRM repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
FARRM eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
FARRM improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
FARRM consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
FARRM provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.