“Solid Reforms” in Farm Bill

May 16, 2008

By: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)

Excerpt from Congressional Record May 14, 2008:

This farm bill contains solid reforms while addressing a variety of issues including forestry, rural development, renewable energy, nutrition, conservation, research, specialty crops, and livestock and still maintains the safety net necessary to ensure a safe, reliable and affordable domestic food supply. This farm bill is a good work product, and I am proud of the work we have done.

The bill contains more reforms than any previous farm bill, eliminating payments to millionaire farmers, eliminating the three-entity rule, and increasing the efficiency of the crop insurance program among numerous other reforms.

It’s 100 percent PAYGO-compliant and is fiscally responsible, scoring $4 billion less than the House bill and $5 billion less than the Senate bill. I think you would be hard-pressed, Mr. Speaker, to find a conference report in the history of this body that came back scoring less than the House and Senate bills. That is a significant achievement, and I think it would be foolish to overlook the positive changes this farm bill has undergone.

When we talk about the farm bill, many believe that the Congress is voting on a $288 billion bill that goes directly to farmers. The truth is that only 17 percent of the farm bill spending is devoted to farm programs, while nearly 70 percent goes to the nutrition title alone. In fact, there is very little farm in a farm bill anymore.

In 2002, the farm program funding comprised just three-quarters of 1 percent of the Federal budget. Today, farm program funding accounts for just one-quarter of 1 percent of the Federal budget, a twofold reduction in just 5 years.

Agriculture policy is essential to the lives of every American, and it is important that the policy we formulate is responsible, effective and at a low cost to the taxpayer.

This bill meets those requirements. I support the farm bill because I believe American agriculture is vital to our national security, health and way of lifeā€¦

(Rep. Bob Goodlatte. Congressional Record. 5/14/08. p. H3801-H3802).