Illinois soybean farmers are pleased the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry has passed the “Agricultural Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013,” the committee’s version of a new farm bill this week. Farmers now seek swift action from the full U.S. Senate to do the same.
“Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) has been pushing for new farm legislation to be finalized. We are pleased with the cooperative and bipartisan effort displayed by the committee in providing us with the certainty we need to continue producing enough food, feed, and fuel to meet growing demand,” says Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and ISA chairman. “The committee’s version 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.”
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.
“From a national perspective, by agreeing to support a decoupled, market-oriented approach to price protection, the committee has resolved a philosophical difference between farm groups on how to keep government farm programs from distorting planting decisions. This has helped unite all major U.S. crop production regions behind one approach,” says Wykes.