The U.S. House Agriculture Committee early today passed H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, also known as the Farm Bill, which reforms the nation's agriculture policies and saves more than $35 billion in taxpayer money. Thompson, Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry, praised the bill as a major improvement to federal agriculture programs and an important boost to the economy. The measure passed by a vote of 35-11.
"This farm bill is an important boost to local economies across the country, including the many family farms and forestry producers across the 5th Congressional District," said Rep. Thompson. "This is a balanced bill that underscores our commitment to production agriculture, but also recognizes the necessity that we live within our means by reducing the debt and getting a better return on investment for the taxpayer."
H.R. 6083 is the product of a multi-year process that included auditing for effectiveness and efficiency every single policy under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Agriculture. Thompson's subcommittee held a series of audit hearings over the last year to review each title under its jurisdiction and gather input from agriculture stakeholders on future reforms.
"Most importantly, this law streamlines duplicative programs so they are more accessible to small, rural communities, through reduced administrative burdens and improved delivery," Rep. Thompson added. "Our agriculture community, which every day works to deliver the nation the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply in the world, deserves nothing less. This is a positive step forward, but we still have work ahead. I look forward to working with the Senate to reach a final bill before the current law expires in September."
Several provisions sponsored by Rep. Thompson were also adopted as part of H.R. 6083:
Opening New Market Opportunities for Forestry Producers: H.R. 5873, the Forest Products Fairness Act, which would open new market opportunities for forestry producers by allowing their products to qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) BioPreferred Program, was included as part of H.R. 6083.
Reducing Burdensome Regulations And Improving Forest Management: This amendment, which reduces unnecessary bureaucratic delays and will help the Forest Service use their budget, staff and resources more efficiently, was included as part of H.R. 6083.