The Senate approved the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act on Tuesday, which includes many tax-saving provisions and was authored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
The bill included a new Ag Risk Coverage program that is based on the bipartisan Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management Act. The program eliminates direct payments to farmers and relies on current crop-year data, market prices and actual yields. Farmers will only receive payments when the market fails and only for crops they have actually planted.
Brown’s language offering more than $150 million for key rural development programs in the 2012 Farm Bill was also included in final passage. The amendment would advance the programs by setting aside a portion of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development to do more finance projects that generate economic growth.
Additional provisions spearheaded by Brown that were approved in the full bill include a stronger crop insurance program for specialty crops and organic agriculture, an improved farmers market program and exploration of the use of new technologies for the Electronic Benefit Transfer for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at farmers markets and other direct retail outlets.
“This bill saves more than $24 billion while maintaining important investments in conservation, nutrition, renewable energy and rural development,” Brown said.