Senator Jon Tester, the U.S. Senate's only working farmer, today released the following statement after the Senate passed the bipartisan Farm Bill by a vote of 66 to 27:
"This Farm Bill makes long-needed reforms that cut spending while preserving a strong safety net for farmers. It's a bipartisan, fiscally responsible plan that will support and strengthen Montana's number one industry."
The Senate reauthorized the Farm Bill for five years, saving taxpayers $24 billion. The bill replaces direct payments to farmers with a new initiative that protects them from sudden losses and provides them with new crop insurance options. It also streamlines conservation initiatives to help farmers preserve clean air and water and ensure public land access for sportsmen and women, and it reauthorizes livestock disaster initiatives.
The Senate passed a similar bipartisan Farm Bill last year, but the House of Representatives refused to vote on the bill. As a result, the current Farm Bill was extended for another year. Without action by Congress, it will expire in September.