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Ms. WARREN. Madam President, yesterday, I voted for the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013--the farm bill--which makes important reforms, such as ending the practice of direct payment agricultural subsidies, and provides strong support to our local farmers which will help stabilize our food policies and increase access to fresh produce for the next decade.
I especially want to acknowledge and thank Senator Cowan, with whom I worked closely, for his successful effort to include in this bill a provision that was also advocated by former Senator Kerry to help our struggling fishermen in Massachusetts. This provision extends eligibility in the emergency disaster loan program to fishermen.
When our farmers are struck by disasters, they have access to low-interest emergency disaster--EM--loans available through USDA's Farm Service Agency. These loans have been used in the past by farmers, ranchers, and aqua farmers to help recover from crop production losses. Now, our Nation's fishermen will also have access to this important loan program.
I am also proud to have worked with Senator Cowan on his amendment to authorize the Department of Agriculture to conduct a study to propose a method for a voluntary crop insurance program for seafood harvesters. Fisherman and farmers face the same economic hardships when there are significant drops in production. This study is an important step toward providing the seafood industry with an insurance product to reduce their risk. I thank Senator Cowan and former Senator Kerry for their leadership on these efforts to help out fisherman who experiencing very difficult economic hardships.
Although I am proud to support the broad policies in this legislation, there are certain measures in this bill that I strongly oppose and that I will push to modify when the bill is considered in conference.
In particular, I am deeply concerned with the changes that the farm bill makes to the SNAP program. I will continue working to ensure that assistance is available to all families who need help putting food on the table.