Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) today voted to streamline and reform the nation's agricultural programs in a bill of vital importance to Georgia's largest industry. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act would reauthorize programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Agriculture contributes $71.1 billion to Georgia's economy each year," said Kingston. "Six in ten Georgians are employed in food and food production. This bill provides our farmers, ranchers, and producers with the certainty they need to continue providing us with the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. In the process it saves taxpayers $20 billion and repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs at the USDA."
The legislation would end direct payments to farmers, replacing them with a market-based risk management approach building on the success of crop insurance. It also repeals similar legislation enacted in 1938 and 1942 to which federal policy currently reverts when farm bills expire. The current farm bill extension is set to expire in September.
This is the first such legislation since the 1970s that does not couple farm policy with nutrition programs such as food stamps, a longtime priority for Kingston.
"We conservatives have fought for years to separate farm and nutrition policy," Kingston said. "Passage of this bill is a success on that front but we cannot lose sight of the urgent need to reform our bloated food stamp program."
House leaders have pledged to bring up a bill focused on nutrition assistance at a later date.