WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Agriculture last night advanced a new five-year Farm Bill that included reforms championed by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL).
“I am proud of the work Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson put in to help create a much needed Farm Bill for our nation’s farmers,” Rep. Roby said. “By consolidating duplicative programs, cutting waste, and reforming the nutrition title, this bill meets our country’s agriculture needs while also including past due conservative reforms.”
The bill, officially known as the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, includes the first major reforms to the food stamp program since the mid 1990s, saving American taxpayers more than $20 billion. The bill repeals or consolidates more than 100 government programs while also ending direct payments to farmers.
As a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) was able to secure two major inclusions in the new Farm Bill:
· a provision preventing illegal immigrants from fraudulently obtaining federally subsidized food stamps, which Rep. Roby originally proposed in an amendment to the bill last year, and;
· a provision reducing the amount of land allowed into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), restricting the increasingly-frequent practice of paying landowners to let fertile cropland go unplanted for years. Rep. Roby introduced this reform as a standalone bill earlier this year.
An amendment by Rep. Roby to close the “LIHEAP Loophole” for food stamp payments was defeated by a voice vote. Rep. Roby maintained that she would consider bringing the amendment up again during final debate before the whole House of Representatives.
Rep. Roby, who co-chairs the Congressional Peanut Caucus, was pleased with the way the new farm bill treats Alabama farmers and commodities.
“This bill ensures parity for our farmer’s in Alabama while reining in the size of the government by making much needed reforms to farm and nutrition programs,” Roby said. “My staff and I worked closely with our farmers in the Second District to ensure their needs were met.”
The bill was approved with broad bipartisan support, passing the Committee 36-10. The FARRM Act is expected to be on the floor of the full House of Representatives this summer.