The Senate Agriculture Cmte. held a markup of the complete farm bill, an event that occurs once every five years. The committee concluded the day with a vote to pass the bill on to the Senate.
According to Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the 2012 farm bill reforms farm policy, consolidates and streamlines programs and reduces the deficit by $23 billion.
The bill would end direct payments made to farmers to encourage them not to plant certain crops. However, the bill would create a risk management system to help farmers face challenges caused by weather conditions and market fluctuations.
The bill also contains cuts to the food stamp program.
The 2012 Farm Bill print, released on April 20, has received support from some agriculture and export groups. However, a block of Southern farm groups sent a letter to the committee, requesting that the markup be put off until legislators and farming advocates have had an opportunity to review the 900 page bill.
Milk producers, likewise, oppose the Dairy Market Stabilization program included in the markup. They claim the new program will drive up milk prices.
The committee took a break for votes on the Senate Floor before returning to complete their markup.
The bill will now move to the full Senate for debate and votes.