Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate and voted to approve the House-passed Agricultural Act of 2014 conference report, commonly known as the Farm Bill. The bill, which passed 68-32, concludes a long process that began last year when the House and Senate passed separate versions. A conference committee made up of members of the House and Senate has been working for the last several months to iron out the differences and come to a final agreement. All four members of the Idaho Congressional Delegation voted to support the final agreement.
"Today is a great day for Idaho's agriculture and forest industries throughout our state," said Crapo. "In all, the Farm Bill consolidates the number of conservation programs by half, slashes $23 billion in federal spending by ending direct payments and streamlines other duplicative federal programs.
"Unfortunately, an opportunity was missed to enact even more reforms that extend to the bottom-line spending. Specifically, Idaho and American agriculture producers have stepped up to make sacrifices that will lower spending and contribute to deficit reduction, but the nutrition title, which comprises approximately three quarters of the bill's total price tag, should have received much more scrutiny.
"The conference report also kept intact redundant permitting requirements relating to aquatic pesticides; costly and burdensome country-of-origin labeling requirements; and the duplicative U.S. Department of Agriculture's catfish inspection program, which the Government Accountability Office singled out as a high risk for waste, fraud and abuse. I am concerned that Idaho producers may face unprecedented costs and international trade retaliations as a result of these provisions.
"While far from perfect, this bill offers much-needed reforms to strengthen risk management tools and is a far-cry from the status quo. Idaho's agricultural community needs a farm bill, and this legislation will help producers to continue providing a safe and abundant food supply."