2012 farm bill receives Senate approval with N.D., Minn. support

FARGO – With unified support from Minnesota’s and North Dakota’s delegations, the 2012 farm bill passed the Senate on Thursday.

The Senate voted 64-35 in favor of the bill, an action that puts the legislation in the House’s hands.

The Senate support came from 46 Democrats, 16 Republicans and the Senate’s two independents.

Minnesota Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar were quick to praise the Senate’s action on the legislation, which they said represented a “fiscally responsible” approach to future farm and nutrition funding.

“I’m proud that our farmers are doing their part to address the deficit by eliminating direct payments, but I’m also pleased that we passed a strong safety net – in the form of crop insurance subsidies – to protect producers when a bad year hits,” Franken said in a statement after the vote.

The bill also preserves the sugar program and encourages conservation and renewable energy projects, Franken said.

Klobuchar – a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which helped craft the bill – said “today’s bipartisan vote is a victory for this critical legislation.”

“I worked hard to ensure the legislation supported a strong sugar program, and I will continue to work to move this legislation forward,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. – who also sit on the Senate Ag Committee – also praised the chamber’s passage of the 2012 farm bill.

“We’ve passed a good, strong farm bill that will help producers manage risk, create jobs and reduce the deficit and debt, but we still have work before us,” Hoeven said in a statement. “We have enhanced crop insurance for our producers, but there is still more work to be done in the House and the conference committee.”

The bill provides more than $23 billion in deficit reduction; $15 billion came from farm programs and $6 billion came from conservation programs, Hoeven said.

Conrad agreed that the bill is fiscally responsible “but it also maintains the farm safety net.”

“No state has done better under the last farm bill than our state,” the North Dakota senator said. “This bill, too, is North Dakota friendly.”

Conrad said there’s room for improvement in the conference committee, which would meet assuming the House passes its own version of the bill.

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Ag Committee, told The Forum’s editorial board last week that he expected the farm bill to pass the House by the end of this summer, assuming there are no hang-ups on the legislation.

3 thoughts on “2012 farm bill receives Senate approval with N.D., Minn. support

  1. Hmmm, interesting math. Eliminating direct payments saves $5.0 billion per year, or $50 billion for 10 years! Also eliminated are ACRE & SURE programs which cost about $2.5 billion/year or about $25 billion over 10 years. They are claiming another $6.0 billion in cuts (over 10 years) from conservation programs. All told, that should add up to over $80 billion over 10 years, yet somehow they could only save $23 billion! Where did the other $57 billion go?!! Only in Washington could they get away with pushing this kind of math out and not have any reporters ask tough questions!

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