Saturday, July 26, 2014

Farm Bill passes with Moran backing

By The Herald Staff | 2/5/2014

WASHINGTON — Tuesday’s passage of the long-awaited federal Farm Bill was called a bipartisan effort, but only one member of Kansas’ Congressional GOP-dominated delegation voted in support of the legislation.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who joined the successful 68-32 Senate push for the bill, said the legislation isn’t perfect, but provides long-term certainty to agriculture producers.

WASHINGTON — Tuesday’s passage of the long-awaited federal Farm Bill was called a bipartisan effort, but only one member of Kansas’ Congressional GOP-dominated delegation voted in support of the legislation.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who joined the successful 68-32 Senate push for the bill, said the legislation isn’t perfect, but provides long-term certainty to agriculture producers.

“Considerable time and energy was put into the Farm Bill process, and now is not the time to start over,” Moran said. “This Farm Bill will give producers the certainty they need to plan and do business for the next five years.”

Kansas Farm Bureau echoed Moran’s sentiments on certainty.

“It strengthens crop insurance, helps stockmen who’ve been hammered by natural disasters and improves conservation programs,” Steve Baccus, Kansas Farm Bureau president and grain farmer from Ottawa County in north-central Kansas, said.

Moran’s colleague, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was among those criticizing the bill, which now only needs President Obama’s signature to become law. In a speech to the Senate floor this week, Roberts argued the new Farm Bill would force Kansans to focus on producing wheat because of the government subsidy — creating a distortion of wheat production while such other crops as grain sorghum, corn and soybeans are forgotten.

“When all producers in Kansas, and the rest of America, have the same price guarantees and signals to plant wheat and the majority make the business decision to follow subsidy signals instead of the market, over time there will undoubtedly be more production than global demand,” Roberts said. “We will have a surplus of wheat leading to a lower wheat price.”

All four Kansas House members — U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo, Tim Huelskamp and Kevin Yoder — also voted against the bill. The House of Representatives, however, passed the bill without their support Jan. 29 on a 251-166 vote.

 Jenkins said the Farm Bill costs too much and fails to reach significant reform. She said she also thinks the bill will lead to false production signals that will lead to higher subsidy payments.

“There are many good provisions which I support in this legislation, but unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives,” Jenkins said.

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