Durbin Statement on Senate Passage of Farm Bill That Provides Certainty for American Farmers

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013  (S.954) which will save roughly $24 billion over the next 10 years compared to pre-sequestration budget levels.  The farm bill, which passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 66-27, makes significant reforms to American agriculture policy by ending four different commodity subsidy programs and replacing them with more market-driven programs that make payments when farmers experience a loss.


“It was just over a year ago that we first considered a new Farm Bill on the Senate floor and much like last year, the bill passed today is the most significant reform of agriculture programs in decades,” said Durbin.  “It makes key investments in energy and research, it ensures that programs are in place to help our rural communities grow and thrive, and it provides food assistance for those most in need, at home and abroad.  The bill also provides farmers with certainty in farm policy that will allow them to plan out their long term recovery from the recent extreme weather events.”


In 2011, the United States set a new record with 15% of the population living in poverty – 46.2 million people. Today’s bill helps America’s most vulnerable feed their families by providing $760.5 billion in funding over the next 10 years for nutrition programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) and nutrition programs.


Late last month, the Senate accepted an amendment to the farm bill authored by Durbin and U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) that would save more than $1 billion over ten years. The amendment – approved with a bipartisan vote of 59-33 – is a reasonable step that asks our wealthiest farmers to cover more of their risk by reducing the level of federal premium support for crop insurance participants with an Adjusted Gross Income over $750,000 by 15 percentage points for all buy-up policies beyond catastrophic coverage.