Senator Debbie Stabenow (D. Mich.) Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry officially introduced the Farm Bill in the U.S. Senate today.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will save taxpayers $23 billion. The bill was adopted by the Senate Ag Committee last month on a vote of 16-5.
“The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 represents the most significant reforms of agriculture policy in decades,” says Stabenow. “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 dairy portion of the bill eliminates milk price supports and the Milk Income Loss Contract program. In its place, dairy producers could sign up for basic dairy margin insurance and supplemental coverage. If they do, they also be subject to a dairy stabilization program which would require them to reduce production (or forfeit a percentage of their milk income) when margins fall below certain levels for specified periods of time.
Stabenow gave no timeline as to when the Farm Bill will be debated on the Senate floor or when a vote might occur. Most Washington insiders believe the Senate must pass its version of the bill before the House of Representatives will consider it.