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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act, or the 2012 farm bill, represents the most significant reform of U.S. agriculture in decades. This bill is the product of many months of policy discussions and late night deliberations guided by the steady leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts. I commend their efforts in successfully navigating this bill. All Americans stand to benefit from their hard work and commitment to reform agriculture policy and strengthen our rural communities.

There is a reason why people across the country--farmers and business owners, faith leaders and county commissioners--have been paying attention to what we are doing.

This bill benefits all Americans, including in Ohio, where 1 in 7 jobs is related to the food and agriculture sector. From making the farm safety net more fiscally responsible, ensuring communities have access to broadband, protecting nutrition and conservation programs, to strengthening initiatives for healthy, nutritious food--this legislation touches all Ohioans.

Also, at a time where there is too much gridlock, this bill is a welcome change.

Many thanks to Leader Reid and Senator McConnell for their patience, their cooperation, and for allowing time for proper consideration of the farm bill.

Many of the policies I proposed as legislation and worked to include in this farm bill were made at the suggestion of Ohioans. Traveling across the State on my ``Grown in Ohio'' listening tour, I learned what is working and what needs to be changed from people whose primary job is to grow our food, feed the hungry, and run small businesses and small towns. Thanks to the many Ohioans who have shared their opinions, ideas, and provided feedback over the past several months. This farm bill is better because of their involvement.

This legislation would not have been possible without the dedicated work of the Senate Agriculture Committee's leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Roberts, and that of its members. In particular, I enjoyed the opportunity to work with a number of my Agriculture Committee colleagues. Their willingness to reach across party lines ensured that this bill had a much-needed dose of Midwestern pragmatism. I would like to thank Senators THUNE and GRASSLEY, as well as Senators HARKIN, NELSON, LUGAR, JOHANNS, KLOBUCHAR, and CASEY. Their continual engagement in the farm bill process has made a stronger product and I am grateful for their efforts.

The 2012 farm bill has been many months in the making and was made possible by the work of Senate staff, often in a bipartisan manner. Mike Seyfert, Joel Leftwich, and Tara Smith of Ranking Member Roberts' staff were invaluable resources in this process, as well as Jared Hill for Senator Grassley and Lynn Tjeerdsma with Senator Thune, whose work with my staff was indispensable.

I was continually impressed with the open and collaborative nature of Senator Stabenow's staff. This farm bill was written in a unique and challenging process--all of which made the efforts by Chris Adamo, Jonathan Coppess, Joe Shultz, Tina May, Brandon McBride, Jacklyn Schneider and others to remain engaged and open to suggestions all the more invaluable. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed.


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