A balanced farm bill is one that gives equal weight to all of America's priorities, not just more money for subsidy programs, and moves farm and food policy forward to address the issues America's producers and public face in the 21st century.
Expand conservation and farm and ranch land protection programs.
The Senate must provide at least $5 billion in additional funding for conservation programs to meet farmer demand and keep existing programs in operation.
Reform subsidies with a revenue based program.
Revenue protection provides better protection to farmers, especially in the face of disasters like this year's record droughts. Strengthen and support the Average Crop Revenue (ACR) program, which provides farmers freedom to choose a better safety net and frees up several billion dollars from the permanent disaster program to fund other critical farm bill programs.
Increase access to healthy and local foods.
Our food travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles. Local food is fresher, and supports the local economy. A balanced farm bill will help farmers reach their local markets with improved infrastructure and marketing assistance.
Promote renewable energy to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Renewable energy from agriculture accounts for only 4% of U.S. fuel needs, but could grow to up to 30% and provide valuable income for rural communities. A balanced farm bill will invest in renewable energy research and production.
Extend nutrition programs to end hunger in America.
Over half of all food stamps participants are children and 35 million Americans do not have all they need to eat, but current nutrition programs provide less than $1 a day in assistance. A balanced farm bill will expand benefits and streamline enrollment to reach more Americans in need.
The Senate needs to do more to address these priorities and write a balanced farm bill that
keeps our agricultural sector vibrant and America's communities strong. Fund our national priorities first.
The House of Representatives has already voted on a farm bill that includes $13.5 billion in new money that funds national priorities:
- Conservation and Environmental Programs – $4.6 Billion
- Food Stamps and other Nutrition Programs – $4 Billion
- Renewable Energy Programs – $2.5 Billion
- Fruit and Vegetable Programs – $1.6 Billion