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Mr. CRAWFORD. I thank the chairman and the ranking member for their outstanding work in crafting the 2013 FARRM Bill. I would especially like to thank the farmers and ranchers across rural America for their patience as we work through this long, difficult process.
Madam Chair, the bill before us today is the product of our extensive outreach to farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders across the entire country.
I believe that the most essential aspect of writing any farm bill is the critical input we receive from our rural constituents. The Agriculture Committee made this possible through holding a series of farm bill field hearings in nearly every region of the country, allowing producers to contribute to the farm bill process by having their voices heard.
Last year, I had the opportunity to host one of those field hearings in my hometown of Jonesboro, where all types of producers from Arkansas and around the Midsouth region had a chance to testify. They shared with the committee the challenges they face in the modern agricultural economy and provided suggestions about how the farm bill can be tailored to reflect their unique risk in the marketplace. This feedback was critical in helping us craft policy that meets the needs of producers not only in Arkansas, but around the country.
After hearing from stakeholders across the Nation, it was remarkable to me to hear time and time again that ag producers are willing to do their part to reduce the deficit. This willingness has allowed the Ag Committee to craft a farm bill that saves nearly $40 billion. This was no easy task, mind you, and the committee had to make some very tough choices. But I believe we were able to fairly balance the needs of our producers with the need to pay down the debt.
The final product is a bipartisan farm bill that saves taxpayers money, reduces deficit spending, and repeals outdated government programs while reforming, streamlining, and consolidating others. Whether it's through the elimination of direct payments, the consolidation of conservation programs, or eliminating abuse in the food stamp program, every part of this bill contributes fairly to deficit reduction.
I proudly support the 2013 FARRM Bill, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
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