June 20, 2012
The U.S. Senate started voting yesterday on 73 of the 320 amendments proposed to the current Farm Bill. Of the amendments already considered:
- Senator Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) amendment 2382, which addresses barriers to make crop insurance more accessible to organic farmers, was agreed to. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently charges a five percent surcharge on crop insurance for organic farmers who participate in federal crop insurance programs. Organic crops are also insured at the same amounts as conventional crops, despite often being worth as much as two times as much as a conventional crop in the marketplace. This means that organic farmers currently are not adequately compensated if they suffer a crop loss, relative to conventional farmers’ compensation.
- Senator Saxby Chambliss’ (R-GA) amendment number 2438, which would link the receipt of federally subsidized crop insurance to basic conservation requirements, was agreed to.
- Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) amendment number 2439, which would limit the amount of insurance subsidies going to the wealthiest farmers, persons or corporations grossing more than $750,000 a year, was agreed to, although this limitation wouldn’t take effect until the completion of a study on the effects of the limitation.
For more on the Senate amendments, see the Farm Bill Primer.
According to Politico, the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Frank Lucas (R-OK), intends to start to amend the House version of the Farm Bill when lawmakers return after the July 4 recess.