Grassley discusses farm and nutrition bill Print
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 24 May 2013 14:46

WASHINGTON – In a weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discussed amendments he filed to the comprehensive farm and nutrition bill being debated in the U.S. Senate.  Nearly 80 percent of the farm and nutrition bill is funding for programs such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP or food stamps).  The remaining 20 percent of the funding goes to programs that enhance agriculture and rural communities.

Here is the text of Grassley’s address:

The United States Senate debated a comprehensive farm and nutrition bill this week.

The minor percentage of this legislation that is geared toward agriculture and rural America is a way to give farmers the kind of certainty they deserve.

In fact, people may not realize that nearly 80 percent of the funding in the farm bill is geared toward nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(or food stamps); the Emergency Food Assistance Program; and other food assistance programs for seniors and children.

The rest of the bill – the 20 percent for agriculture – includes changes to federal farm programs to enable a marketplace where American agriculture can thrive and both feed and fuel the world.

I offered a few amendments during the Senate debate focused on:

1)      holding accountable the bureaucracy at the United States Department of Agriculture.

2)      holding the line on fairness in farm program payments.

3)      putting the expertise of the Department of Agriculture to work with the Justice Department’s formal role in scrutinizing the state of competition in the agriculture marketplace.

My first amendment is a direct response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of personal information about more than 80,000 livestock and poultry owners nationwide to three activist groups.  The EPA released a lot of personal information even when the definition of a Consolidated Animal Feeding Operation wasn’t met, including cases where people owned a single pig or 12 horses, for example.  My amendment would allow EPA to collect and disclose information in the aggregate, for transparency, but it would protect individuals’ personal information from release by the federal government.

My second amendment would make sure the farm program payment reform I’ve worked so hard to get included in the farm bill – to keep the farm program focused on small and mid-size farms – isn’t unraveled for peanut farmers.

My third amendment would create a special counsel position at the United States Department of Agriculture to analyze mergers in the food and agriculture sectors.  This person would work closely with the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to fight anti-competitive forces in the agricultural marketplace, forces that make it difficult for independent ag producers to compete and thrive.

The farm bill is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support.


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