June 21, 2012(Key vote)
Title: Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that repeals direct payments to farmers and amends crop insurance programs, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Repeals the requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture make direct payments to certain farmers including, but not limited to, wheat, corn, barley, oat, cotton, rice, soybean and peanut farmers, beginning in the 2013 crop year (Sec. 1101).
- Repeals the requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture make “counter-cyclical” payments to farmers, which are paid when the effective price for a crop is less than the target price for that crop, beginning in the 2013 crop year (Sec. 1102).
- Extends the requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture make loans available to sugar cane and sugar beet farmers at the following rates from the 2012 to the 2017 crop year (Sec. 1301):
- 18.75 cents per pound for raw sugar cane; and
- 24.09 cents per pound for refined beet sugar.
- Authorizes farmers to purchase additional crop insurance coverage from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation based on either of the following, beginning no later than the 2013 crop year (Sec. 11001):
- Area yields and losses, in order to cover all or part of the deductible for an insurance plan based on an individual yield and loss basis; or
- A margin basis, either alone or in combination with coverage based on individual or area yields and losses.
- Specifies that additional crop insurance shall be triggered only if the losses in the area exceed 10 percent of normal levels, as determined by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (Sec. 11001).
- Authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to pay crop insurance premiums for the 2013-2017 crop years if the revenue from the crop is less than the “agriculture risk coverage guarantee” for that crop (Sec. 1105).
- Defines “agriculture risk coverage guarantee” as 89 percent of an amount equal to the product of the following (Sec. 1105):
- The average yield of the crop for the most recent 5 crop years, excluding the 2 crop years with the highest and lowest yields; and
- The average price of the crop for the most recent 5 crop years, excluding the 2 crop years with the highest and lowest prices.
- Requires the Secretary to use the following prices as the “average price” used to calculate the agriculture risk coverage guarantee if the actual average price for rice or peanuts falls below the following prices (Sec. 1105):
- $13 per hundredweight for rice; and
- $530 per ton for peanuts.
- Requires farmers for the 2013-2017 crop years to maintain “sound agricultural practices” by meeting the following requirements prior to receiving agricultural risk coverage payments (Sec. 1106):
- Comply with applicable conservation requirements;
- Comply with applicable “wetland protection” requirements;
- Use the farmland for agricultural or conservation purposes; and
- Control “noxious weeds”.
- Limits the amount of disaster assistance provided by the Secretary of Agriculture to producers of uninsured crops to no more than 65 percent of regular crop insurance coverage, whereas existing law did not specify a limit (Sec. 12204).
- Prohibits any individual or legal entity with an adjusted gross income of more than $750,000 from receiving any of the following benefits, beginning in the 2013 crop year (Sec. 1605):
- Agricultural risk coverage;
- Marketing loan gains or loan deficiency payments;
- Disaster assistance; or
- Payments made through the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program.
- Reduces crop insurance premium subsidies for agricultural producers with adjusted gross incomes of $750,000 or more as follows, beginning in the 2014 reinsurance year (Sec. 11032):
- From 100 percent of the premium for catastrophic risk protection to 85 percent; and
- For crop insurance premiums based on the following percentages of average crop yields, the subsidy will be reduced as follows:
- From 67 percent to 52 percent of the premium for yields between 50 and 55 percent;
- From 64 percent to 49 percent of the premium for yields between 55 and 65 percent;
- From 59 to 44 percent of the premium for yields between 65 and 75 percent;
- From 55 percent to 40 percent of the premium for yields between 75 and 80 percent;
- From 48 to 33 percent of the premium for yields between 80 and 85 percent; and
- From 38 percent to 23 percent of the premium for yields that exceed 85 percent.
- Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to reconcile the social security numbers of all individuals who receive payments under this bill with the Commissioner of Social Security at least twice a year to determine if the individuals are alive (Sec. 1608).
- Establishes a minimum payment threshold of $10 or more per year for home energy assistance that must be met or exceeded in order for the household to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), whereas existing law specified that households receiving any amount of home energy assistance are eligible for the SNAP program (Sec. 4002).
- Prohibits households in which a member receives “substantial” lottery or gambling winnings from receiving benefits under the SNAP program (Sec. 4004).
- Authorizes agricultural producers who market their products directly to consumers to redeem SNAP benefits for the initial cost of a community-supported agriculture share (Sec. 4008).
- Extends the requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture purchase at least $50 million per year of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to schools from 2012 to 2017 (Sec. 4201).
- Establishes the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to implement certain conservation activities including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 1271):
- Drought mitigation;
- Flood prevention;
- Water retention;
- Habitat conservation, restoration and enhancement; and
- Erosion control.
- Establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to provide cost-share assistance for the purpose of purchasing certain eligible lands including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 2301):
- Land on a farm or ranch that contains historical or archaeological resources;
- Farmed or converted wetland; and
- Cropland or grassland used for agricultural production prior to flooding from the natural overflow of a closed basin lake or pothole.
- Requires the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to conduct a study to determine whether offering policies that cover crops from food safety and contamination issues would benefit farmers (Sec. 11017).
- Prohibits payments for food assistance to North Korea unless the President determines that such assistance is in the national interest of the United States (Sec. 3015).
- Prohibits funds from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund from being used to pay for any political party's national convention, effective December 31, 2012 (Sec. 12214).
NOTE: THIS LEGISLATION NEEDED A THREE-FIFTHS MAJORITY VOTE TO PASS.