Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) celebrated the passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. The final vote was 66-27. The most significant agricultural policy reform in decades, the bill reduces the federal budget deficit by streamlining agricultural programs to make them more efficient while cracking down on fraud and abuse. In sum, this legislation would save the federal government about $23 billion over 10 years. Additionally, it strengthens crop insurance, promotes conservation compliance, eliminates direct payments to farmers, boosts agricultural job initiatives, and supports critical food and nutrition programs.
"Last year, the Senate passed a robust farm bill that helped to reduce our deficit, support farmers and make much needed reforms to agricultural and nutrition programs, but the House unfortunately failed to take up and pass its own version. Hopefully, that changes this year," said Senator Carper. "Today, the Senate passed a farm bill that does all those things and more. It cuts wasteful spending, cracks down on fraud, boosts agricultural job programs and improves conservation and our environment. Delaware has a world-class agricultural community that produces goods sold across the country and around the world. This bill includes specific provisions that I was proud to sponsor to help a wide variety of folks in Delaware, from poultry growers on Delmarva to conservationists who work to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. I hope the House takes up a farm bill right away so Congress can finish the important work of reforming and improving our nation's food and agricultural policies."
Among the provisions included in the final legislation is language championed by Sen. Carper to prioritize research to improve feed choices for the poultry, livestock and food production industries and to help safeguard conservation resources for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. By improving the feed used to raise chickens and providing the poultry industry with a greater variety of feed to use in their operations, this legislation helps reduce costs for the poultry industry and provide consumers with affordable, high-quality food. Additionally, one-third of Delaware's land is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and this legislation ensures that resources will continue to be made available to critical conservation areas like the Chesapeake Bay to better protect Delaware's natural environment.