Congressman Jeff Fortenberry today expressed his disappointment in the failure of the House of Representatives to pass a Farm Bill. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, which Fortenberry supported, failed on a vote of 195-234. A Fortenberry amendment to place farm payment limits on individual farms was successfully adopted to the bill earlier in the day.
"I am shocked by today's outcome," Fortenberry said. "We now face an uncertain future for farm policy."
"While this Farm Bill proposal was not perfect, it would have helped write a new chapter in agricultural policy for the good of our farm families and all Americans, rural and urban alike. It included important reforms that trimmed its total costs to taxpayers, provided better risk management tools for farmers, ended the practice of providing direct cash payments across the board, and placed limits on the amount of federal payments any one farm is eligible to receive. While it also included appropriate reforms that achieved significant savings, it ensured strong support for important nutrition programs intended to help those struggling in tough economic times."
The Fortenberry payment limits amendment, which passed on a bipartisan vote of 230-194, would have capped farm commodity payments at $250,000 per year for any one farm and closed loopholes in current law to ensure payments reach working farmers. It was the first time in more than 20 years this issue was brought to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.
"I am pleased my colleagues supported my efforts to limit farm payments. The amendment would help farm supports reach their intended recipients and close loopholes that benefit investors not actively engaged in farming," Fortenberry said. "We need a thoughtful and balanced approach that encourages younger people to take a chance in agriculture and gives them some support when they need it, while leveling the playing field for farm families."
Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He is a former chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit.