U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), who represents the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon areas in the 10th Congressional District, issued the following statement on Feb. 7 after President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014 into law:
“This farm bill represents the most significant reform to our farm policy in history. As an almond farmer in the Central Valley, I know firsthand how crucial this bipartisan legislation is in giving certainty to our agricultural industry. This bill saves taxpayers $23 billion while eliminating unnecessary and duplicative programs and ending direct payments. It was an honor to serve on the conference committee and lend a Valley perspective to farm bill deliberations.
“The farm bill that became law today (Feb. 7) included a huge victory for Californians and for the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution by excluding the King Amendment, which would have imperiled agricultural production laws across the country and threatened the work of California egg producers.”
A summary of the 2014 farm bill’s key provisions is included below, and a full list is available through the House Agriculture Committee. The conference report passed the U.S. House on a 251-166 vote on Jan. 29, 2014 and passed the U.S. Senate on a 68-32 vote on Feb. 4.
Farm Policy Reforms
• Repeals Direct Payments and limits producers to risk management tools that offer protection when they suffer significant losses.
• Limits on payments are reduced, eligibility rules are tightened and means tests are streamlined to make farm programs more accountable.
• Strengthens crop insurance, a successful public/private partnership that ensures farmers invest in their own risk management.
• Supports small businesses and beginning farmers and ranchers with training and access to capital.
Food Stamp Reforms
• Establishes a 10-state pilot to empower states to engage able-bodied adults in mandatory work programs.
• Prohibits USDA from engaging in SNAP recruitment activities, and advertising SNAP on TV, radio, billboards and through foreign governments.
• Ensures undocumented immigrants, lottery winners, traditional college students and the deceased do not receive benefits.
• Ensures SNAP recipients are not receiving benefits in multiple states.
• Demands outcomes from existing employment and training programs.
• Increases assistance for food banks.
Additional Reforms and Regulatory Relief
• Consolidates 23 duplicative and overlapping conservation programs into 13.
• Provides one year of full funding for the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides funding for vital services in communities containing federal lands.
• Provides certainty to the forest products industry by clarifying that forest roads and related silvicultural activities should not be treated as a point source under the Clean Water Act.
• Creates a permanent subcommittee within the EPA Science Advisory Board to conduct peer review of EPA actions that would negatively impact agriculture.
• Eliminates duplicative reporting requirements for seed importers; requires improved economic analysis of FDA regulations.