U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today stood up for Wisconsin's rural communities and family farmers as the Senate voted to pass the 2013 Farm Bill. Baldwin joined Senators from both parties in supporting the bipartisan legislation.
"Wisconsin's family farmers have been an engine for our state's economy for generations. The Farm Bill makes important investments in our rural communities and supports an industry critical to our state's economy," Baldwin said, "I was proud to work across party lines and support this legislation because it will help move Wisconsin's economy forward."
Audio of Senator Baldwin's statement here.
The Farm Bill provides significant opportunities for agriculture to drive economic growth and job creation. It also makes important investments in rural America. Specifically, the bill:
Provides training and access to capital to help new farmers get started.
Creates manufacturing jobs by growing bio-manufacturing to replace oil-based products, and supports biofuels.
Expands export opportunities for American farm products.
Makes important investments in areas underserved by broadband Internet, establishing a pilot program within the RUS broadband loan program to fund gigabit projects in rural areas -- creating jobs, attracting industries and helping rural communities compete in a 21st century global economy.
"The average age of our nation's farmers is right around 60. Many of them inherited or were able to buy into a family operation. That's getting tougher and tougher these days. That's why we have to start investing in a new generation of farmers and ranchers. The Farm Bill provides training programs and helps new farmers access important tools, land, and capital to get their operation off the ground. These smart investments in our agriculture industry will surely help us build a "Grown in Wisconsin" economy."
The bipartisan Farm Bill makes the most significant reforms to farm programs in decades. It ends unnecessary subsidies like direct payments, eliminates duplication, and streamlines programs to save more than $24 billion.
"It's good news for Wisconsin that both parties could work together in the Senate and get the job done with strong bipartisan support. Our farmers need long-term certainty -- not short-term legislative band aids. Creating jobs by investing in our rural communities, reforming our farm programs so that they work for our family farmers, and putting an end waste in in the system, is just commonsense."
Senator Baldwin has worked specifically for Wisconsin's agriculture economy by supporting the following programs:
·Specialty Crop Block Grantsto support research for crops like cranberries, potatoes, ginseng, and cherries
·The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Actto provide tools for farmers including technical assistance and training programs, as well as matching funds for savings accounts and lower loan rates
·Local Food Farms and Jobs Actto support access to farmers markets, improve crop insurance for organics, and support extension programs for small farmers
·Rural Energy Investment Act to provide funds for renewable projects including anaerobic digesters and investments in biofuel crops
·Growing Bio-based Manufacturing to create rural agriculture and urban manufacturing jobs -- creating products grown and made in Wisconsin.
·Rural Gigabit Pilot Program to grow local economies and help bring next generation networks to rural America