Late Thursday, the Senate Ag Committee announced that the "Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012" has been officially introduced to the Senate. The measure, which the committee had finished on April 26 calls for as much as $23 billion in cuts, an end to direct payments and new lower payment limit levels.
Recently a bipartisan group of 45 Senators asked that the measure be brought to the floor for debate and Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced it would be debated soon.
In the announcement, Stabenow and Roberts say that S.3240 has been officially introduced. In a press statement announcing the bill's move for full consideration by the Senate, the two Committee leaders said: "The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 represents the most significant reforms of agriculture policy in decades. The Senate's farm bill will save taxpayers billions of dollars while helping America's agricultural economy continue to grow. By eliminating duplication and streamlining programs, the Agriculture Committee was able to continue investing in initiatives that help farmers and small businesses create jobs."
The bill got strong bipartisan support, but there is opposition to an end to direct payments, especially from the Southern delegation. Those Senators say direct payments are critical to their farmers.
Stabenow and Roberts say the look forward to continuing to build on the Senate Farm Bill's broad bipartisan support to enact the Farm Bill this year before the current one expires.
Stabenow concluded the statement with this comment: "The time for reform has come."
You can check out a copy of the new Senate version of the Farm Bill by visiting www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill.