The House has passed an almost $100 billion-a-year, compromise farm bill that would make small cuts to food stamps and continue subsidies for agriculture producers.
The vote was 251-166, which included a vote in favor of the bill from Nebraska's Third District Rep. Adrian Smith. Smith says the bill isn't perfect and other issues not addressed in the Agriculture Act of 2014, such as trade and livestock provisions, will still need solutions.
"Nebraska producers have waited for more than three years for a long-term Farm Bill," Smith said. "Policy certainty will help our farmers and ranchers remain competitive and benefit consumers, and the bill contains important reforms to save an estimated $23 billion for hardworking taxpayers."
Some ag organizations are applauding the House's approval and are now urging the Senate to quickly pass the bill.
The American Soybean Association says there is no time to waste. "We've been operating without a farm bill since the end of September; that means no certainty when it comes to risk management, export market promotion, programs that assist our industry's growing biodiesel and biobased products sectors, and countless others," said ASA President Ray Gaesser.
"Moreover, USDA needs time to put these programs in place for 2014 crops, which begin to be harvested in May," Gaesser added. "The Senate needs to take up the bill and pass it immediately so we can put this process behind us and keep producing and planning for the tough challenges ahead."
The organization says it supports the bill's risk management framework; its strengthening of crop insurance; streamlining and optimization of conservation programs; investment in critical trade development and renewables like biodiesel and biobased products; support for beginning farmers and ranchers and acknowledgment of the role of agricultural research.
The president of the National Association of Wheat Growers echoed ASA's approval. NAWG President Bing Von Bergen said, "I and my fellow wheat growers applaud the House for passing the farm bill conference report this morning. We look forward to a speedy vote in the Senate and the President's signature as soon as possible. This bill provides our nation's wheat farmers with the certainty they need and deserve. "
The Senate is expected to pass the approved bill along to President Obama.