U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today lauded the 66 - 27 passage of the Senate Farm Bill, saying the legislation supports Louisiana's farmers and agriculture industry. In particular, Sen. Landrieu's successful effort against the Toomey-Shaheen amendment ensured the bill will continue the strong, no-cost U.S. sugar policy that supports 27,000 jobs and nearly $3.5 billion in economic activity a year for Louisiana. The bill also includes important protections for Louisiana's rice and cotton growers, which Sen. Landrieu fought to include.
"This farm bill will give certainty to and support Louisiana's unique agriculture industry, our rural communities and the farmers that feed us all," Sen. Landrieu said. "This year's Farm Bill, which has the support of the Southern Agriculture Alliance, is much more advantageous for our rice producers than last year's version. It also includes key provisions to protect our critical sugar industry, and support food aid and conservation incentives to protect our precious land and water resources. As I've always said, farming is more than just a business or a job. It's a way of life and an important part of our culture-one that deserves our support."
"The Farm Bill drives the largest and most important sector of our overall economy. It also sets priorities to help us remain competitive in a global market," said Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M. "I want to thank Senator Landrieu for securing a Farm Bill that supports the fastest growing sector in our economy and that works for Louisiana."
Sen. Landrieu voted against the failed 2012 version of the Senate Farm Bill. The bill would have had drastic consequences for Louisiana's rice farmers and require them to take a larger cut in assistance than any other commodity. More than 2,000 rice farmers call Louisiana home, and the rice industry generates $638 million in economic activity for Louisiana each year.
Louisiana's farming industry supports 243,000 jobs and contributes $11.4 billion to Louisiana's economy in 2012.