Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after House Republicans failed to push their partisan farm bill through the House. This legislation fails to address falling farm income, eliminates the energy title, which includes the popular Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and eliminates important crop insurance and risk management education efforts. Additionally, the bill cuts billions of dollars in food assistance for millions of children, seniors and veterans.
“House Republicans today showed they care more about being partisan than passing a farm bill to support Iowa’s farmers and rural communities. In what has historically been done in a bipartisan manner with a rural-urban coalition, this farm bill has devolved into a partisan food fight. This bill did not go far enough, nor make the necessary investments in providing our farmers and rural communities in Iowa with the tools they need. Farmers are facing some of the lowest farm incomes in years and this partisan farm bill does little to provide economic benefit or market certainty in rural communities.
“While there are many things in this bill that I support, I was unable to support it today because this bill is too extreme. For example, the elimination of the Energy title goes against our rural priorities. This title supports many renewable energy and energy efficiency investments made by our farmers and small businesses, such as REAP. This initiative has always been incredibly popular and has more people interested in it than funding available.
“I am also disappointed that this bill does not raise reference prices at a time when farm incomes are falling. Increased reference prices would go a long way toward providing greater assistance to farmers in times of low prices. Additionally, this bill cuts $800 million from conservation programs that help farmers care for the land and soil. On top of that, this farm bill eliminates important crop insurance and risk management education efforts that protect farmers in times of an emergency.
“I feel as though this whole process was truly a missed opportunity to support rural Iowa while making investments that put farmers first. It is time to go back to the Ag Committee and craft a bipartisan bill that can actually pass both chambers and be signed into law. But most importantly, we have to have a farm bill that puts farmers first.”
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