Illinois soybean farmers applaud the quick action the full U.S. Senate took this week in passing the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s “Agricultural Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.” The farm bill legislation has been long in coming, and Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) hope the U.S. House also will act swiftly.
“The Senate’s version of the legislation provides continued planting flexibility, reinforces crop insurance, protects natural resources, authorizes and funds vital trade, research and education programs, and feeds our nation’s hungry. It also addresses budget needs by reducing spending by $23 billion, including elimination of direct payments and duplication of conservation programs,” says Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and ISG chairman.
Among the key provisions for Illinois soybean farmers is the structure of the bill’s commodity programs in Title I. In addition to the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program to protect against revenue losses, the committee approved a price-based Adverse Market Program which sets reference (target) prices at a percentage of recent average prices and provides that support levels be updated annually. The Senate bill reauthorizes and funds numerous ISG priorities, including the Biodiesel Education Program, the Biobased Market Program, agricultural research initiatives, and the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs.