Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2642, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013” (known as FARRM or the House 2013 Farm Bill), in a 216-208 vote.
The House version of the bill eliminates the $5 billion a year in direct payments and places more emphasis on the Federal Crop Insurance Program as the primary mechanism to protect America’s farmland.
The Big “I” was pleased to see the Federal Crop Insurance Program continues to serve as the primary risk management tool in FARRM and that an amendment offered by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), which was defeated in debate last month, was not considered in the H.R. 2642 debate today. The amendment would have sharply reduced the availability and affordability of crop insurance and it would have undermined private sector delivery of this important risk management tool.
In a break from traditional farm policy, the House bill only addresses the agriculture aspects of the Farm Bill and strips a reauthorization of the food stamp program that has been included in previous Farm Bills. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will now be addressed in a separate reauthorization bill.
The House and Senate will now conference their versions of the bill. The current Farm Bill is operating under an extension that is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013.
Jen McPhillips is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.