Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member, released the House Agriculture Committee’s discussion farm bill draft, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM).” The bill cuts approximately $35 billion from the current farm bill - $16 billion from nutrition, $14 billion from commodity programs, and $6 billion from conservation programs. This compares to $23 billion in total cuts in the Senate-passed farm bill. The largest difference is in nutrition cuts in which the Senate bill cuts a little over $6 billion. According to the committee leadership, the bill:
• Saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
• Repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
• Eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
• Improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
• Consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
• Provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens that farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.
The bill does not contain a livestock title; however, there are a number of items of interest to the livestock and meat industries contained in the bill. They include:
- Market Access Program - funds the Market Access Program at $200,000,000 per year through 2017.
- Foreign Market Development Program - funds the Foreign Market Development program at $34.5 million per year through 2017.
- Veterinary Services Grant Program -authorizes a program to make competitive grants to qualified entities that carry out programs or activities described in paragraph (2) for the purpose of developing, implementing, and sustaining veterinary services.
- Food Animal Residue Avoidance Program - continues authority for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Program through 2017.
- Trichinae Certification Program - extends authorization of the Trichinae Certification Program through 2017.
The House Agriculture Committee will markup the bill beginning on July 11.