Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) voted today to pass the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act out of the House Agriculture Committee. The farm bill passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 35 to 11.
"I'm grateful to Chairman Frank Lucas for his work to develop this legislation. This is a complex bill, but I'm satisfied that we've come to an agreement that reduces our spending, improves program efficiency, and creates a strong safety net for America's agricultural producers," said Neugebauer.
As originally introduced, the FARRM Act saves $35 billion over ten years, and repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs to improve efficiency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Three of Neugebauer's amendments were included in the final bill. The first amendment helps reduce fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps). The second provision requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to submit a report on the steps they will take to bring the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program into compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling. The final amendment ensures that farmers in West Texas can participate in research on water resources without losing farm bill eligibility. Additionally, the bill includes Neugebauer's group crop insurance policy: the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). SCO allows producers to buy additional coverage on their crops so they don't suffer from large deductibles in the event of a loss.
"Farmers and ranchers need long-term policies in place by this fall so they can make informed planting decisions," Neugebauer said. "Now that we've passed the farm bill out of committee, I'll do everything I can to pass this on the House floor. I look forward to working with my colleagues and Congressional leadership to make this bill law."