Thursday, June 21, 2012

Senate passes Farm Bill

The United States Senate has approved a new Farm Bill to take effect next year and cover five years of farm policy and spending.

But it’s still a long way from becoming law.

The House of Representatives has yet to approve a Farm Bill and then the Senate and House will meet in committee to resolve differences between the two versions.

And after that, it will still need the president’s approval. If he declines, it will take a two-thirds majority to over-ride his veto.

In some ways, the U.S. Farm Bill is more important to Canadian farmers than Canadian farm policies. It has, for example, a major impact on the prices and profitability of growing corn and soybeans which, in turn, underpins the livestock and poultry industries and influences the profitability of growing alternative crops.

The Senate cut more than $23 billion from the Farm Bill budget over the next 10 years, including $6.4 billion from conservation programs.

To gain approval of the cuts to conservation, the Senators call for policies to make conservation programs more effective.

While it’s called the Farm Bill, more than half of the money goes into food stamp and school lunch programs.