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Congressman Crawford's Weekly Column - Revamping the Farm Bill


Location: Washington, DC

During the 112th Congress The House Agriculture Committee passed an extension of the Farm bill which secured the current benefits and allowed for more time to design farm policy that works with modern agriculture. As a newly-appointed Subcommittee Chairman, I am using my leadership role to voice the concerns many Arkansas farmers face on a daily basis. Our producers face many challenges; I will continue to make sure their voices are heard by my colleagues on the Hill. The Farm Bill is expected to be marked up in the Agriculture Committee next week, and when it passes it will go to the House floor for a vote.

Southern Agriculture producers employ a variety many unique methods of production. The House Agriculture Committee hopes to pass a bill that understands "one size fits all" approach to farm policy simply won't work. Additionally, our farmers face great uncertainty in crop pricing, if the market is not stable and prices swing too far in one direction many farmers could face going out of business. I will continue to voice the concerns of our farmers and make sure the Farm Bill not only represents the unique needs of Arkansas farmers, but also reflects the diversity of agricultural production across the Nation.

I was elected to be the voice of the First District of Arkansas and I and my constituents continue to express their concern about wasteful government spending. Ironically the Farm Bill has very little to do with farming. In fact the nutrition title that provides for foods stamps and other nutrition benefits accounts for 75 percent of the funding authorized in the Farm Bill. Since President Obama assumed office, food stamp spending has greatly increased and continues to grow. The House Agriculture Committee is drafting a bill that will preserve nutrition benefits for those who need them most, while eliminating loopholes. This will save precious taxpayer dollars. Arkansas is an efficient steward of the food stamp program, and as such will be virtually unaffected by the changes in the nutrition title of the Farm Bill.

The new Farm Bill will save taxpayer dollars by repealing duplicative and outdated programs and strengthening areas of efficiency. Reforming crop insurance into a program that will better serve producers across the country, including those in the mid south, is a priority. I am also continuing to fight costly EPA regulations that place tremendous burdens on our farmers.

We live in a world of unpredictable weather, an ever changing marketplace, and an unstable economy. I am hopeful the new Farm Bill will produce certainty for our hardworking farmers. I will continue the fight to keep Washington politics out of rural America

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